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Hall of Fame 30: Dejan Bodiroga


The two years Dejan Bodiroga spent in Milano have been obviously short but very intense. During his reign, Olimpia made it to two Korac Cup finals (losing both of them, against Alba Berlin and Efes Pilsen Istanbul) but in 1996 it won Italy Cup and the league championship. Bodirga basically fled away from his native country of Serbia in the middle of the civil war in the 90′s. Bogdan Tanjevic brought him to Trieste where he played for two seasons. Then Bepi Stefanel moved the team or, better, the best players (Nando Gentile, Sandro De Pol, Davide Cantarello, Gregor Fucka) and the coach in Milano, where this group of players had two fantastic seasons before Bodiroga himself left to Real Madrid. Particularly, the league title in 1996 was won by him, in the crucial Game 3, on the road, in Bologna, because with a face-up jump shot Bodiroga gave Olimpia the win. In game 4, the then-Stefanel completed the job. Bodiroga left Milano when he was 24. Later, he’d have won in Madrid, with Panathinaikos (again playing along Nando Gentile), in Barcelona before coming back to Italy and closing his career in Roma. With the Serbian National team he won two World Championships and the silver medal at the 1996 Olympics. He never played in the NBA but he was drafted when he was in Milano by the Sacramento Kings.