32 years ago the guy holding the ball in the picture above signed for Real Madrid. I have chosen a b&w picture on purpose. It is the best way to illustrate what basketball was like in those days. Compared with today’s athletes, Delibasic looked like an ordinary man from the street who just decided to go on court and play a few balls. Far from that, he was in fact one of the most talented players ever to play for Real Madrid.
He only played for the Madrid team two years and he left just before the new ACB league started. He only won with Real Madrid one title, the 81/82 Spanish league. He could have been a true star of the ACB league, but he never led a particularly steady life. Mirza was all genious and talent, however off the court he was not the streotype of the professional athlete. Drinking and smoking were part of his life, as much as basketball was. His was not an easy life, having to live through the war in his country and also suffering two strokes in the early 90’s. He died far too young (47).
Despite his short stay in Madrid, Delibasic had a large impact on the team. The Real Madrid of 1981 was an emerging force. Fernando Martín had just signed from Estudiantes, Juanma Iturriaga and Fernando Romay were also taking the lead from the old generation (Rullán, Brabender). Mirza was, albeit just for one year, the leader that young team needed. And he made clear to me that basketball was my sport.