Hrvatski

CROATIAN SPORT - KREŠIMIR ĆOSIĆ (1948 - 1995) (C)

Type: P
The stamp has been issued in a 9-stamp sheetlet and there is also a First Day Cover (FDC).
Number: 552

CROATIAN SPORT - KREŠIMIR ĆOSIĆ (1948 - 1995) (C)

Barely 17, he had already won, together with his club “Zadar” the first championship title in the country, and he repeated it in 1967 and 1968. It was then that the story started to circulate about “the little, great one from Zadar” who could do everything with his ball. Always pleasant and optimistic, both on the basketball courts and outside, he radically changed the world of basketball.

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Value:3,5 HRK
Design:Danijel Popović, designer from Zagreb
Size:29,82 x 48,28 mm
Paper:white 102 g, gummed
Perforation:14, comb
Technique:Multicolor Offset Printing
Printed by:"Zrinski" - Čakovec
Date of issue:25.05.2005.
Quantity:200000
Motif: ”Ćosić’s jump” The Croatian basketball legend Krešimir Ćosić represents this sport both as a player and coach, but first and foremost as a person. Always pleasant and optimistic, both on the basketball courts and outside, he radically changed the world of basketball. Before his appearance we used to perceive the “centres” as giants who blindly hold on to the basket, keep clumsily running and handle the ball like a hot potato. After Krešo nothing has ever looked the same again. He was a jumper, shot, assistant, whatever was needed, a basketball player who worked and thought for others. He was born in Zagreb on November 26, 1948, but made his first basketball footsteps in Zadar. Barely 17, he had already won, together with his club “Zadar” the first championship title in the country, and he repeated it in 1967 and 1968. It was then that the story started to circulate about “the little, great one from Zadar” who could do everything with his ball. On August 6, 1967 he also set a record in the number of baskets scored, the record was later beaten by another great man in basketball – Dražen Petrović. In the game between Zadar and BSK, Ćosić scored 61 baskets. At the age of 20 he won a place in the national team of former Yugoslavia with which he won the silver medal at the Olympic Games in Mexico. Though Zadar and Kalelarga were his great love, he was looking for new challenges. His next, very important step in his career was leaving for his course of study in the USA, enrolling at the Brigham Young University in Provo (Utah). Krešimir Ćosić was the first European who had changed the world of American basketball. It is no wonder that he, as the third foreign player, was chosen to the basketball “Hall of Fame, the house of the famous in Springfield, Massachusetts. With the average of 22 baskets per game and 13 jumps he twice brought his college team to the finals of the WAC (Western Athletic Conference) and played three times in the All-Stars college game. He was invited by professional clubs, and the Los Angeles Lakers chose him as their first pick on the draft. But Krešo had not chosen to be a professional; he returned to Europe and achieved an impressive career. There was no trophy either in the club or the national team competition that Ćosić had not won. After Mexico he played at the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972, won the silver medal in Montreal in 1976, and then, as the crown of his career, he won the gold medal in Moscow in 1980, after the victory in the final game against Italy with the score 86: 77. He was captain of the team with five other Croatian players participating in the game. The legendary Krešo registered the record of 303 appearances for the national team of former Yugoslavia. In his treasury he also had two gold medals from the World championships in Ljubljana 1970 and Manila 1978, and also a silver medal from Puerto Rico 1974. He participated in 9 European championships where he won three golden, two silver and one bronze medal. We cannot forget the famous generation that had won three consecutive European gold medals in the period between 1973 and 1977. This is why it comes as no surprise he had been chosen member of the ideal European team for 7 successive years. No wonder one of his co-players said: “When you don’t know what to do with the ball, just give it to Krešo. He will certainly come up with an idea what to do with it!” As a player, friend, pedagogue and person he had given a huge contribution to each club he played for. While playing for Zadar he won a record five champion titles of former Yugoslavia. He played two seasons in Bologna, Italy, where he won the 1979 and 1980 Italian championships with Synudine. After that he returned home and with his experience helped the Zagreb club Cibona in winning the 1982 championship title. In the same year, together with the Cibona players, he won the Cup Winners Cup in Brussels. In his years as a player he demonstrated his affinity for working as a coach, and after having completed his 20-year-long career as a player he sat down on the “hot” coach’s seat. Ćosić had taken over the national team two years after finishing his career as a player. In a three-year cycle he won two bronze medals at the World Championships in Madrid, 1986, and European championship in Athens, a year later. As a coach, he believed in the young players and brought recognition to a number of yet unknown players who were to become world champions in the 1980s. On the political level, Krešimir Ćosić was a great fighter for the independent Croatian state. Using his sports and political connections in America, he relentlessly worked at the Croatian embassy in Washington and greatly contributed to spreading the truth about Croatia on the American continent. Unfortunately, death had taken its toll too early. After a short but grave illness he died in Baltimore aged only 47. We are marking the 25th of May as the 10th anniversary of the day when a man we all loved had left us forever. Since 1998, as an homage to him, the Croatian basketball cup has been carrying the eminent name of Krešimir Ćosić. Zadar has soon also got a Krešimir Ćosić street, and on the 4th April 2002 a monument of Ćosić was unveiled in front of the basketball hall Jazine. This is how, symbolically, Zadar and Croatia have expressed their thanks to Krešimir Ćosić, the great sportsman and even greater man.


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