Liga ABA


Liga ABA
Liga ABA
Current season or competition:
2011–12 Liga ABA
ABA NLB League official logo.jpg
NLB League logo
Sport Basketball
Founded 2001
Commissioner Josip Bilić
No. of teams 14
Country(ies)  Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Croatia
 Israel
 Montenegro
 Serbia
 Slovenia
Most recent champion(s) Serbia KK Partizan
Most titles Serbia KK Partizan (5)
Official website adriaticbasket.info

Liga ABA, also known as Adriatic League, until September 2011 known as the NLB Liga ABA for sponsorship reasons, is a top-level regional basketball league, featuring teams from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Israel, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.

The league exists alongside scaled-down national leagues in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, and Montenegro (Košarkaška liga Srbije, A1 Liga, Prvenstvo BiH, 1. SKL, and Opportunity Liga). All but one of Adriatic League teams join their country's own competitions in late spring after the Adriatic League regular season and post-season have been completed. The only exception to the above is Maccabi Tel Aviv, which plays a full schedule in the Israeli national league Ligat HaAl.

Adriatic League is a private venture, founded in 2001 and organized by Slovenian limited liability company called Sidro. Adriatic Basketball Association is the body that organizes the league and is a full member of ULEB as well as a voting member of the Euroleague board. The competition can be thus be considered a local version of the Europe-wide Euroleague, in which a few Adriatic League clubs also compete (usually Partizan, Cibona, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Olimpija). Adriatic League has inspired a similar competition in the Baltic states - the Baltic Basketball League or Baltic League.

Contents

History

Throughout mid-to-late 1990s, in the years after the breakup of SFR Yugoslavia and ensuing Yugoslav Wars, various basketball administrators from the newly-independent Balkan states talked about re-assembling a basketball competition to fill the void left by the dissolution of the Yugoslav basketball league whose last season was played in 1991-92.[1]

Such a competition was agreed upon in principal at a meeting in Ljubljana on 3 July 2001 by representatives of four basketball clubs: KK Bosna, KK Budućnost, KK Cibona, and KK Olimpija. The day is considered to be the league's foundation date. Though club representatives from four countries attended the meeting, the main individuals behind the venture were six Slovenians and Croatians: Roman Lisac, Zmago Sagadin (at the time head coach of Olimpija and arguably the biggest authority figure in Slovenian basketball), Radovan Lorbek (at the time president of Olimpija), Josip Bilić, Danko Radić, and Bože Miličević (at the time president of Cibona). The name chosen for the competition was the Adriatic League, invoking the Adriatic Sea as a common thread for participant countries thus purposely avoiding the terms 'Balkans' or 'Yugoslavia' that at the time carried a fairly undesirable public perception in Slovenia and an extremely negative one in Croatia. Established as a private venture, the league was placed under umbrella of Sidro d.o.o. company that was registered in Slovenia on 14 September 2001. The company actually controls the competition through legal entity called Adriatic Basketball Association (ABA), which also manages the league's day to day operations.

At a time when European club basketball was in turmoil with clubs divided between embattled FIBA and surging ULEB, the Adriatic League founders used those circumstances to carve out a place on the map for their organization by tying their boat to ULEB, which was seemingly on the way up and looking poised to wrestle the top continental club competition (Euroleague) out of FIBA's hands. Logistically, the 2001 establishment of the Balkan-wide regional Adriatic League meant that existing national basketball leagues in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina underwent major re-organization with their respective top clubs leaving the domestic competitions to compete in the regional one. Still, the national leagues weren't fully dismantled, though they were largely marginalized since their respective best clubs only returned in late spring for the end of the season. The only exception to the above was KK Budućnost that continued playing full schedule in FR Yugoslavia's domestic YUBA league (which remained intact) in parallel with its participation in the Adriatic League.

On the public relations front, Adriatic League was met with strong and mixed reactions. Though many hailed it as an important step for the development of club basketball in the Balkans region, many others felt that it brings no new quality and that it is not worth dismantling three domestic leagues. There was a lot of negative reaction from political circles, especially in Croatia, with even TV panel discussions being broadcast on Croatian state television. A very vociferous opinion in the country saw the league's formation as a political attempt to reinstate Yugoslavia.[2] The league organizers for their part did their best to appease the Croatian public with statements such as the one delivered by Radovan Lorbek in Slobodna Dalmacija in September 2001:

This is not a Yugoslav league, and it will never become a Yugoslav league. The Adriatic League has no clubs from Serbia and Macedonia, therefore the Adriatic League and a Yugoslav league are not the same thing.[3][4]

Ten years later, in a 2011 interview for the Serbian newspaper Press, Roman Lisac explained the league's behind the scenes strategy during its nascent stages was actually quite different:

I'm convinced the league would've never been able to survive without Serbian clubs. Getting Red Star and Partizan to join the league was something that we worked on from day one. However, the situation ten years ago was not that simple. Too much antagonistic post-war politics was still all around us, and it made our task all the more difficult. Everything that smelled of old Yugoslavia caused a lot of resistance both in Croatia and in Serbia. I repeat, the idea of having both Red Star and Partizan in the league was there from the very beginning, but we avoided talking about it publicly because of politics.[5]

On 28 September 2001, the league announced a five-year sponsorship deal with Slovenian company Sava Tires from Kranj, a subsidiary of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The deal also included naming rights, hence from 2001 until 2006, the competition was known as the Goodyear League.

Debut season

With twelve clubs taking part in the inaugural 2001-2002 season, the competition commenced in fall 2001 with 4 teams from Slovenia, 4 teams from Croatia, 3 teams from Bosnia-Herzegovina, and 1 team from FR Yugoslavia. The very first game was contested in Ljubljana between KK Olimpija and HKK Široki on Saturday, 29 September 2001 at 5:30pm.[6]

Though the competition purported to gather the strongest sides from former Yugoslavia, as mentioned, teams from Serbia were noticebly absent, particularly Belgrade powerhouses and biggest regional crowd draws KK Partizan and Red Star Belgrade. In addition to no clubs from Serbia proper, the league had no Serb-dominated clubs from Bosnia-Herzegovina either. Since the league founders mostly avoided talking about the issue due to fears of media backlash, the fact that no invitations were extended to Serbian clubs was generally explained through security issues due to organizers' fears of crowd trouble if Croatian and Serbian clubs were to start playing again in the same competition. Then in early February 2002, the public got a preview of just that when Cibona and Partizan met in Zagreb as part of that season's Euroleague group stage. In a nationalistically charged and incident-filled encounter, Croatian fans peppered the Partizan players with rocks, flares, and even ceramic tiles before physically assaulting Partizan head coach Duško Vujošević in the guest team dressing room after the game.[7]

The Adriatic League debut season was marked by dwindling attendances and lukewarm media support. Still the league did receive a bit of a shot in the arm on 24 February 2002, when its managing body ABA got accepted as full member of ULEB.[8]

Second season

For the 2002-03 season, the league remained at the total number of 12 teams, while it went through major re-tooling internally. By the time season started, four teams dropped out (Sloboda Dita, KK Budućnost, Triglav, and Geoplin Slovan) to be replaced by: Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv, Red Star Belgrade (the first team from Serbia in the competition), the Bosnian Serb outfit KK Borac, and Croatian club KK Zagreb.

Getting Maccabi on board brought the league some much needed credibility and positive media exposure. Still, it was understood all along the Tel Aviv club wouldn't stick around for long. Much more important for the league's long term business was negotiating acceptable terms for the Serbian clubs to join the competition. To that end, Lorbek and Lisac went to Belgrade in early April 2002 with an offer of taking in three clubs from FR Yugoslavia for the Adriatic League's 2002-03 season.[9] The offer was flatly rejected initially by the representatives of five YUBA league clubs - Partizan, Red Star, Hemofarm, FMP, and Budućnost - as their unified platform was either all five or nothing. Taking in all five required expanding the league to 14 teams, which was something the league organizers weren't prepared to do due to the associated increase in operating costs. The negotiated agreement thus fell through for the time being. However, it didn't take long for dents to appear in the unified front put forth by five YUBA league clubs - in May 2002 Red Star's management (three businessmen close to the Serbian ruling Democratic Party: Živorad Anđelković, Igor Žeželj, and Goran Vesić) hired Zmago Sagadin to be the club's new general manager - and soon after, in June 2002, the club broke the ranks by negotiating terms on its own thus agreeing to join the Adriatic League for the 2002-03 season.

Maccabi Tel Aviv left the league after one season, but the league expanded to 14 teams for 2003-04, and to 16 for 2004-05.

The league reverted to 14 teams for 2005-06. In September 2006 the league signed a general sponsorship contract with Nova ljubljanska banka (NLB) and was renamed to NLB League, whilst keeping Goodyear as one of the major sponsors.

In 2010, the Czech club Nymburk joined the league for the first time.

In 2011, in search of increased level of competition, the Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv returned to the league after an eight-year absence. In next season 2012 ABA league is going to have the first Macedonian team , KK MZT Skopje.

Competition

Like most European leagues, the regular season consists of a double round-robin schedule, with each team playing every other team home and away. The top teams in the league then advance to a playoff round to crown the league champion.

From 2002 through 2004, four teams qualified, and the playoffs were termed the "Final Four"; starting in 2005, eight teams advanced to the "Final Eight" round. All playoff rounds consist of one-off knockout matches, unusual among European leagues. However, since all Adriatic League clubs play in domestic leagues at the same time, and many also play in the Euroleague, the current format has the virtue of limiting fixture congestion for the playoff sides.

Current season teams (2011-2012)

Country Teams Team City Venue (Capacity)
Serbia Serbia 4
KK Partizan mt:s Belgrade Pionir Hall (8,150)
KK Hemofarm STADA Vršac Millennium Center (5,000)
KK Radnički Kragujevac Hala Jezero (4,000)
KK Crvena zvezda Beograd Belgrade Pionir Hall (8,150)
Slovenia Slovenia 4
KK Union Olimpija Ljubljana Arena Stožice (12,480)
KK Krka Novo mesto Leon Štukelj Hall (3,000)
KK Helios Domžale Domžale Hala komunalnega centra Domžale (2,500)
KK Zlatorog Laško Laško Tri Lilije Hall (2,500)
Croatia Croatia 3
KK Cedevita Zagreb Sutinska vrela (2,000)
KK Zagreb Zagreb Dražen Petrović Basketball Hall (5,400)
KK Cibona (wild card) Zagreb Dražen Petrović Basketball Hall (5,400)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 1
HKK Široki Široki Brijeg Pecara (capacity: 4,500)
Israel Israel 1
Maccabi Tel Aviv Tel Aviv Yad Eliyahu Arena (11,700)
Montenegro Montenegro 1
KK Budućnost Podgorica Morača Sports Center (5,000)

Champions

Season Champions Runner-up Final Score Finals host city Regular season winner, W-L
2001–02 Slovenia Union Olimpija Slovenia Krka 73 – 59 Slovenia Ljubljana Union Olimpija, 20-2
2002–03 Croatia Zadar Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv 91 – 88 Slovenia Ljubljana Crvena zvezda, 16-5 (one game not played)
2003–04 Serbia and Montenegro Reflex Croatia Cibona 71 – 70 Croatia Zagreb Cibona, 20-6
2004–05 Serbia and Montenegro Hemofarm Serbia and Montenegro Partizan 89 – 76 Serbia and Montenegro Belgrade Hemofarm, 22-8
2005–06 Serbia and Montenegro FMP Serbia and Montenegro Partizan 73 – 72 Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo Partizan, 20-6
2006–07 Serbia Partizan Serbia FMP 85 – 83, 94 – 82 played as home-and-away best-of-3 series FMP, 21-5
2007–08 Serbia Partizan Serbia Hemofarm 69 – 51 Slovenia Ljubljana Partizan, 24-2
2008–09 Serbia Partizan Croatia Cibona 63 – 49 Serbia Belgrade Partizan, 23-3
2009–10 Serbia Partizan Croatia Cibona 75 – 74 Croatia Zagreb Cibona, 20-6
2010–11 Serbia Partizan Slovenia Union Olimpija 77 – 74 Slovenia Ljubljana Partizan, 18-8
  • KK FMP competed under the name Reflex in 2003-04 season.

Performance by club

Team Winners Runners-up Years Won Years Runner-Up
Serbia Partizan
5
2
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 2005, 2006
Serbia FMP
2
1
2004, 2006 2007
Serbia Hemofarm
1
1
2005 2008
Slovenia Olimpija
1
1
2002 2011
Croatia Zadar
1
2003
Croatia Cibona
3
2004, 2009, 2010
Slovenia Krka
1
2002
Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv
1
2003
Regular season winners Titles Years Won
Serbia Partizan
4
2006, 2008, 2009, 2011
Croatia Cibona
2
2004, 2010
Serbia FMP
1
2007
Serbia Hemofarm
1
2005
Serbia Crvena zvezda
1
2003
Slovenia Union Olimpija
1
2002

Performance by country

Country Winners Runners-up Years Won Years Runner-Up
 Serbia
8
4
2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
 Croatia
1
3
2003 2004, 2009, 2010
 Slovenia
1
2
2002 2002, 2011
 Israel
1
2003
Regular season winners Titles Years Won
 Serbia
7
2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
 Croatia
2
2004, 2010
 Slovenia
1
2002

NLB League Awards

MVP Award

Season MVP Team
2001-02 Croatia Marino Baždarić Croatia Triglav osiguranje
2002-03 United States Kenyan Weaks Slovenia Pivovarna Laško
2003-04 Serbia and Montenegro Dejan Milojević Serbia and Montenegro Budućnost
2004-05 Serbia and Montenegro Dejan Milojević Serbia and Montenegro Partizan
2005-06 Serbia and Montenegro Dejan Milojević Serbia and Montenegro Partizan
2006-07 Serbia Milan Gurović[10] Serbia Crvena zvezda
2007-08 Serbia Tadija Dragićević Serbia Crvena zvezda
2008-09 Croatia Ante Tomić Croatia Zagreb
2009-10 United States Chester Mason Bosnia and Herzegovina Široki
2010-11 Croatia Luka Žorić Croatia Zagreb

NLB League Clubs

The following is a list of clubs who have played in the NLB League at any time since its formation in 2001 (as Goodyear League) to the current season. NLB League teams playing in the 2011–12 NLB League season are indicated in bold. A total of 27 teams have played in the NLB League.

Club Town or City Country Total
seasons
Seasons Highest finish
Borac Nektar Banja Luka Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
2
2002–04
11th
Bosna Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
7
2001–03, 2004–07, 2008–10
Quarter-finals
Budućnost Podgorica Montenegro Montenegro
9
2001–02, 2003–05, 2006–
Semi-finals
Cedevita Zagreb Croatia Croatia
3
2009–
7th
Cibona Zagreb Croatia Croatia
11
2001–
2nd
Crvena zvezda Beograd Belgrade Serbia Serbia
10
2002–
Semi-finals
FMP Železnik Serbia Serbia
7
2003–10
1st
Geoplin Slovan Ljubljana Slovenia Slovenia
6
2001–02, 2003–08
9th
Helios Domžale Slovenia Slovenia
7
2004–10, 2011–
8th
Hemofarm Vršac Serbia Serbia
8
2004–
1st
Igokea Aleksandrovac Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
1
2010–11
11th
Krka Novo mesto Slovenia Slovenia
6
2001–04, 2008–09, 2010–
2nd
Lovćen Cetinje Montenegro Montenegro
1
2003–04
14th
Maccabi Tel Aviv Tel Aviv Israel Israel
2
2002–03, 2011–
2nd
Nymburk Nymburk Czech Republic Czech Republic
1
2010–11
8th
Partizan Belgrade Serbia Serbia
8
2004–
1st
Pivovarna Laško Slovenia Slovenia
6
2001–06, 2011–
Semifinals
KK Radnički Kragujevac Serbia Serbia
3
2009–
10th
Sloboda Dita Tuzla Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
1
2001–02
5th
Split Split Croatia Croatia
7
2001–05, 2006–09
8th
Šibenka Dalmare Šibenik Croatia Croatia
1
2004–05
11th
Široki Široki Brijeg Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
10
2001–08, 2009–
6th
Triglav osiguranje Rijeka Croatia Croatia
1
2001–02
10th
Union Olimpija Ljubljana Slovenia Slovenia
11
2001–
1st
Vojvodina Srbijagas Novi Sad Serbia Serbia
3
2005–06, 2007–09
Quarter-finals
Zadar Zadar Croatia Croatia
10
2001–11
1st
Zagreb Zagreb Croatia Croatia
10
2002–
5th

NLB league records

  • Highest Index Ratings in a Game
  • Most Points in a Game
  • Most Two Point Field Goals Made in a Game
  • Most Three Point Field Goals Made in a Game
  • Most Free Throws Made in a Game
  • Most Rebounds in a Game
  • Most Assists in a Game
  • Most Steals in a Game
  • Most Blocks in a Game
  • Most Turnovers in a Game

All-Time Leaders

Since the beginning of the 2001-02 season:

Accumulated
Points Croatia Krunoslav Simon 2089
Rebounds Republic of Macedonia Todor Gečevski 1060
Assists Slovenia Jure Močnik 555
Steals Croatia Siniša Štemberger 267
Blocks Montenegro Slavko Vraneš 268
Index Ratings Republic of Macedonia Todor Gečevski 2476

Notable players

Well-known basketball players who have played in the NLB League include:

Footnotes

There is mistake on official site of NLB league. Gecevski (22.27 avg Val) is named MVP for that season, because Gurovic (29.3 avg Val) was accidentally erased from the MVP list.

External links


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