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Former FIBA chief Borislav Stankovic dies at 94

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Borislav Stankovic, the former longtime International Basketball Federation secretary general responsible for bringing NBA players to the Olympics, has died, the international body said. He was 94.

Stankovic was at the helm of FIBA from 1976 to 2002 and was a member of the International Olympic Committee.

During his leadership, he was credited with working toward building bridges between East and West during the Cold War and working closely with the then-NBA Commissioner, David Stern, in the late 1980s and early ’90s to bring world basketball into the modern era.

That resulted in American professional players participating in the top-level national team competitions, starting at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

For his contributions to the game, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1991.

FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis said in a statement “as the leader of the International Basketball Federation for a quarter of a century, Borislav Stankovic will always be one of the most important figures in the history of our sport.”

As a player, he helped Red Star Belgrade win two national titles, in 1946 and 1947, and had 36 caps for the Yugoslav national team, including at the inaugural FIBA Basketball World Cup in 1950 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

As a coach, he captured four Yugoslav league titles and one in the Italian league.

Stankovic died in Belgrade, the Serbian capital. The cause of his death was not given. He is survived by one daughter and two granddaughters.