Sin making noise, like every time he pierced the rival hoop. Without the spotlights from which he always moved away in favor of others. This is how the last romantic in the basket left us. December 8, 2001, victim of a lymphatic cancer, died in his beloved Sarajevo, Mirza delibasic, perhaps the last romantic in the basket. A player cool and lethal equally, he understood basketball as a game and a spectacle for fans. Since he was a child he always played in the same way: to have fun.


With a game vision reserved for the elect, a leadership ability that made him the necessary leader of any team and a scoring voracity Like few others, Delibasic became an essential reference for all basketball lovers from the lower categories. But beyond his virtues with the ball, Mirza built his legend around his human virtues, his companionship and the joy of someone who knew himself lucky to be able to do what he liked the most.

He tried his hand at tennis and practiced … ballet

Delibasic began to make a name for himself in his Tuzla native. Endowed with a special talent for sports practice, tried his hand at tennis and even practiced ballet (as he confessed to a journalist, amazed by his agility). But nevertheless, at the age of 15 he decided on the sport of the basket in the ranks of his city team, the Sloboda Tuzla. After three seasons marveling at the extinct Yugoslavia, the all mighty Partizan tried his signing. But it was the Bosna from Sarajevo the one who took the cat into the water. From the hand of Mirza, the Bosna became the fashionable team until win the European Cup in 1979.

A season later Delibasic landed in Madrid to play against the white team in continental competition. Bosnian he silenced the white public with 44 points. In the summer of 1981, Real Madrid announced the signing of the escort. Delibasic wore the white t-shirt for two seasons. With Madrid he conquered the Spanish league, but beyond the titles and the numbers, Mirza made it clear that he was ahead of his time and that he was born by and for basketball.

Mirza Delibasic greets Luis de Carlos, then president of Real Madrid, in the presence of Miroslav Vorgic, the club's physical trainer.
Mirza Delibasic greets Luis de Carlos, then president of Real Madrid, in the presence of Miroslav Vorgic, the club’s physical trainer.BRAND ARCHIVE

At summer 1983 it was the player himself who approached Lolo sainz to tell him I knew that the team needed an American pivot and that he left his file free (there could only be one foreigner per squad). When he left Concha Espina he used part of the money he had collected with the settlement to become a member of Madrid.

Signing for Caserta, stroke and war

Your next stop would be Caserta, but the transalpine elastic was not put on. During the preseason he suffered a stroke that forced him to withdraw. From that moment on, Delibasic should face the two most important games of his life. The first affected million people in the former Yugoslavia, the Balkan War. Delibasic refused to leave Sarajevo, despite everyone’s advice to the bombings suffered by the Bosnian capital. What’s more, the player formed the first selection of Bosnia, left his country and participated in the 1993 German European Championship, where it reached the eighth position as coach. It was his last great serve to basketball. And also his latest victory.

I have lived two lives; one during the day and one at night

Mirza Delibasic (Former Real Madrid player)

His next rival was his own health. He was the first and the last rival to defeat him. After the stroke that forced him to withdraw, the doctors advised him to take care of himself. But, as Delibasic himself claimed, you only live once and He continued with the same habits (“I have lived two lives, one by day and one at night,” he went on to say). In the end, in overtime, he lost the crash, victim of lymphatic cancer. December 8. 20 years ago today.