Lost Tapes

Hoops Legends Revived: EuroLeague Final Four MVP Zarko Paspalj Leads Season 3 Premiere of ‘The Lost Tapes’ by Stoiximan”

Hoops Legends Revived: EuroLeague Final Four MVP Zarko Paspalj Leads Season 3 Premiere of 'The Lost Tapes' by Stoiximan"

Dive into the nostalgic journey of Greek basketball and explore the untold chapters of a truly Golden Era as Season 3 of ‘The Lost Tapes’ by Stoiximan kicks off with an appearance by veteran fan favorite Zarko Paspalj in the inaugural episode.


[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7BqVfhO-fE[/embedyt]

Zarko began his career in 1982 and at the age of 16 he moved up to Budućnost’s first team where he was part of a talented generation alongside Zdravko Radulović and Luka Pavićević, contributing greatly to the team’s third place league finish in the 1985–86 season and a playoff semi-final where they lost to eventual champions Zadar. Next summer he moved to Partizan, together with eighteen-year-old Vlade Divac, where alongside Sasha Djordjevic, Željko Obradović and more established players like Milenko Savović and Goran Grbović, the team won the national title in a final against Crvena Zvezda. Paspalj played well enough to earn a spot on the national team of Yugoslavia that won bronze at the EuroBasket 1987 in Athens, Greece and the following year, in 1988, he earned a leading role with a squad that made it to the Olympics final against the Soviet Union, and marked himself out as a potential star with some fine performances for Yugoslavia at the 1988 McDonald’s Open.
Hoops Legends Revived: EuroLeague Final Four MVP Zarko Paspalj Leads Season 3 Premiere of 'The Lost Tapes' by Stoiximan"In the summer of 1989, Paspalj became one of the first Europeans to move to the NBA, joining the San Antonio Spurs despite going undrafted one year earlier. At the time, there were only five players in the entire NBA who didn’t come up through the American collegiate system and Zarko came to the Spurs, courtesy of the team’s assistant coach Gregg Popovich who noticed the 23-year-old small forward at a warm-up tournament in Dortmund, West Germany in early June 1989 where the Yugoslav national team had been preparing for EuroBasket 1989 later that month. Hoops Legends Revived: EuroLeague Final Four MVP Zarko Paspalj Leads Season 3 Premiere of 'The Lost Tapes' by Stoiximan"The 1989-90 season did have a golden lining for Paspalj as he was an integral part of the Yugoslav team which took gold at the Goodwill Games in Seattle, beating the United States in the final, and at the World Championships in Argentina, with him leading all scorers in the final against the Soviet Union with 20 points.
In 1990, Zarko returned home to Partizan, becoming the league’s top-scorer for 1990–91, leading the team alongside 23-year-old Đorđević and 20-year-old Danilović to the second-place regular season finish and then another playoff final where the old nemesis Split (now renamed Pop 84) awaited. The overall season performance earned Paspalj a high-profile transfer to Greek club Olympiacos in the late summer of 1991 and his arrival to Athens in September 1991, just over two months after helping the Yugoslav national team successfully defend its EuroBasket title, received major attention in the city with many Olympiacos fans greeting him at the International Airport. Being the first foreign superstar to join the Greek league, the 25-year-old’s arrival was seen by many as the harbinger of a new era for Greek club basketball.
In the 1991–92 season Paspalj almost single-handedly inspired Olympiacos
, a team that finished in 8th place in Greek league the previous year, to the play-off finals against PAOK from Thessaloniki. During the season, Paspalj scored an average of 33.7 points per game and one of his best performances saw him score 46 points in a 94-83 victory over Panionios. Playing on a fairly modest squad led by head coach Ioannidis, Paspalj was the go-to player in almost every match, capable of scoring from almost any angle and distance with his outside shooting a particularly deadly weapon in his arsenal.
Hoops Legends Revived: EuroLeague Final Four MVP Zarko Paspalj Leads Season 3 Premiere of 'The Lost Tapes' by Stoiximan"In his second season at Olympiacos, Paspalj benefited from a strengthened team (acquisitions of Walter Berry, Dragan Tarlać, Milan Tomić, Giorgos Sigalas and Franko Nakić) and Olympiacos won the Greek League championship, defeating rivals Panathinaikos. As of 2015, Paspalj’s 54-point game that season against Dafni remains the last 50-point plus performance in Greek basketball’s top division.
During the summer 1993 transfer window, Olympiacos brought in Roy Tarpley, and the season saw Olympiacos crowned League and Cup double champions in Greece but in August of next summer he caused an “earthquake” by transferring to bitter Athenian rivals Panathinaikos, coming into the squad that featured head coach Efthimis Kioumourtzoglou, Nikos Galis, Panagiotis Giannakis, Stojko Vranković, Miroslav Pecarski, Tiit Sokk, Aivar Kuusmaa, Kostas Patavoukas, Fragiskos Alvertis and Nikos Oikonomou.
Paspalj moved on in late summer of 1995 to Panionios B.C., also of Athens (Nea Smyrni), being led by the great Dušan Ivković who knew Paspalj well from coaching him in the national team. Ivkovic became a father-figure to Paspalj and improved his self-confidence and his general game, and Paspalj inspired Panionios to third place in the league with a series of fine performances indicating that after two lean years he was nearing his peak once more. He would sign with Racing Paris next season, joining a squad featuring France national team regulars Stéphane Risacher and Richard Dacoury, former NBA players J. R. Reid and Sedale Threatt as well as Paspalj’s old Yugoslav national teammate Jure Zdovc, leading the club to its first national title in 43 years, before returning to Greece, his second home, for the 1997–98 season and signing with Aris B.C. where, in February 1998, playing injured, led his team to victory in the Greek Cup, scoring 12 points. In the summer of 1998 Paspalj secured a move to the newly crowned European champions, Kinder Bologna, however, effects of past injuries caught up with him and he was cut from the team in December on medical advice from his doctor and after a series of undistinguished performances.
Paspalj is remembered for a successful globetrotting career that included a multitude of trophies and individual awards. Perhaps the single most memorable aspect of his game is the off-balance, unorthodox sling-style shooting technique he perfected — a move that served him so well in the first part of his career, but deserted him later on.

His many accolades include the following:

* FIBA Korać Cup (1): 1988–89
* Yugoslav League Champion (1): 1986–87
* Yugoslav Cup (1): 1988–89
* Greek League Champion (2): 1992–93, 1993–94
* Greek Cup (1): 1993–94
* French League Champion (1): 1996–97
* Greek Cup (1): 1997–98

At the National team level:
* Gold Medal at 1989 EuroBasket:
* Gold Medal at 1990 FIBA World Championship:
* Gold Medal at 1991 EuroBasket:
* Gold Medal at 1995 EuroBasket:
* Two Olympic silver medals (1988, 1996)Bronze medal at the 1987 EuroBasket.

Stay tuned for more episodes of “The Lost Tapes” coming soon…!

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