Cibona Basketball Club Final Game in Zagreb on Wednesday?

Total Croatia News

Basketball Club Cibona is one of Zagreb’s pride and joys. It’s a club with a long and a very rich tradition, as basketball has been played in that club (under various names) since 1946, and many championship titles have been won in that period, including the two most revered ones, as the club was able to become European champion twice during their “glory years”, in 1985 and 1986. Many world-famous basketball players helped build Cibona’s greatness, including two Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame members: Dario Šarić and Dražen Petrović. Dario Šarić, a strong contender for the Rookie of the Year Award for his first season with Philadelphia 76ers, and Washington Wizards shooting-guard Bojan Bogdanović are among the younger players whose careers were jump-started during their time spent in Cibona.

For the past several years the club has been in a lot of financial troubles, as various managements have been exchanged without success, debt has mounted (currently it is said that Cibona is over 40 million kuna in debt), and no amount of help from anyone seemed to help consolidate Cibona’s finances. The situation has now, apparently, gotten so bad that yesterday, Croatian media published something no-one was expecting to see: Aleksandar Petrović, Dražen’s older brother and a person who’s been a part of Cibona for the past 30 something years (either as a player, coach or club president) has expressed his concern that Wednesday’s game against Šibenik might be one of the last (or, indeed, THE last) basketball game that the club will ever play at the Dražen Petrović Basketball Hall!

He has warned some of the journalists that have been following the club for ages that the management has not been complying with the terms of their pre-bankruptcy settlement, and very soon the debtors to the club will be able to start the bankruptcy proceeding, thus basically finishing the existence of the club. Although there were stories about major investors who wanted to invest in Cibona, none of those scenarios ever succeeded, and currently there is no way that debts will be able to get paid in time, so the shut-down of the club is the real scenario. There’s talk “around the town” that the solution to the problem might be to merge the club with Zagreb Basketball Club and create a new team, called something like Zagreb Cibona Nova. The club officials refused to comment on Petrović’s statements, saying that there is nothing extraordinary happening in the club currently. The club’s final game and bankruptcy might happen during the finals of the Croatian championship against Šibenik, or even before that, so Petrović, the current national team coach, invited the team supporters (and there were a lot of very loyal team fans during most of the club’s history) to come to the game on Wednesday night, at 18:00, wearing something blue (the team colour), to show their support to the team we loved and that brought us so much joy over those 70 years.


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