Credit: AFP, RIA-Novosti – Scanpix
Credit AFP, RIA-Novosti – Scanpix

The whole basketball world is mourning Dusan Ivkovic, and there are not enough words to describe his everlasting legacy. As many great players and coaches already delivered their feelings and condolences, BasketNews connected with David Blatt for his last thoughts on the legendary colleague. After all, Blatt is one of only three coaches (the other two are Ergin Ataman and Dusan Ivkovic) to win EuroLeague and EuroCup.  

Blatt said that Duda's ability to conduct his own style and character to the teams he coached was one of the most impressive features of his many coaching abilities. 

"First of all, I send my sympathies to his family. He was a great coach. He wasn't only a great coach, he was a great man. He was a man of substance. I knew him pretty well because of the many times that we were coaching against each other, playing against each other, and participating in the same competitions. We were friendly off the court. We all have lost a great, great father to the game.

Ivkovic was someone that not only earned respect but deserved his respect. And he was in the same way. If you deserved respect, he gave it to you, and it meant something. I know it meant something to me as even as a young coach when I first met him and coached against him. You know, it was a kind of a 'Rite of Passage.' When Dusko shook your hand and talked to you a little bit, you recognized that he respected you. This was a very big thing. Because he was at the very top of his profession, both as a coach and as a man, and his approval was very important. 

He was the kind of coach that you always felt on the other side. There are not so many coaches like this. Both inside the court and outside the court.  His teams were always so well prepared, and they always played such good basketball. They had their way of playing that regardless of what team he was coaching, you felt that.

We met a lot of times, so it wasn't only one game. What I remember most about him was that he had a kind of confidence and strength. And his teams played that way, too. This is very critical. If you ask someone who knew Dusko or coached against Dusko, I'm sure they would tell you the same thing. These teams played with his personality. They were very confident and very strong, both physically and mentally. This was due to his character and his great knowledge of the game.  He was a very intelligent man. And it showed in his basketball.  Dusko had a way of playing, and I think he played the game in the right way. His teams had an identity, and this identity was tied directly to him.

Did I learn from Dusko? Absolutely, a lot! I think that in your coaching career and in your life, it's so important to be open and to learn from others. And there were things about his approach and his game that absolutely I learned from him. 

I am not alone. Ivkovic influenced so many basketball coaches. He was not only a great coach, but he was a teacher. In the way that he coached, he taught a lot of people. Of course, he has taught a lot of players as well. 

My heartfelt sympathies go to his family and also to the basketball world because we lost a great one."

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