Looking for a place to hoop? Then you are in the right place. Welcome to Belgrade, Serbia the land of basketball. Welcome to the city where the winners are born. Welcome to the city of two fearless rivals, Crvena Zvezda and Partizan. Welcome to Kalemegdan, the cradle of Serbian basketball, and our featured “must hoop” basketball court.
The Belgrade Fortress ( Kalemegdan ) was built in a long span between the 2nd and 18th centuries. It was demolished and rebuilt many times and became a symbol of a city that is always rebuilding and creating.
At that time, terraces were formed for the needs of promenades and sports, from which the most beautiful views of the rivers Sava and Danube and their islands open up.
At the same time, the sculpture of Ivan Meštrović “Winner” was introduced in 1913, which, after long discussions, was placed in the Upper Town, so that it dominates the mouth and the entire surroundings.
The origins of basketball in this area date back to the summer of 1945, when the Crvena Zvezda Basketball Club was founded, with Borislav Stanković, Nebojsa Popović, Radomir Šaper, and Aleksandar Nikolić. At their initiative, Kalemegdan was designated as Zvezda’s house.
Shortly afterward in the same year, on October 4 of 1945, Partizan was founded by the army, and the black and whites were in their beginnings on Kalemegdan, since the neighborhood rivalry began, which continues today.
Crvena Zvezda was able to build its headquarters inside the walls of Kalemegdan and still maintains its club offices there. With the help of young volunteers, the land was leveled and the stands were built, so that Kalemegdan was soon a sports center, too. It’s funny that the gym of Partizan was also in Kalemegdan, and that the two clubs are still neighbors, separated only by a fence. That was where and when a rivalry that translated to our days was born.
Today it’s very attractive to play basketball between high walls of the fortress, it’s really amazing feeling to be part of the huge museum with a rich history and be able to play basketball inside of it.
There are two courts right next to each other and people usually decide to pick the court by their team’s color. In Serbia there are only three possibilities, you can be Zvezda’s supporter, Partizan, or you are not into sports. There Is no other possibility such as a neutral supporter. So based on that, people usually choose their court. If you support the Partizan BC, you will probably like to choose the “ Black and White “ court, on the other of the wall, there is home of BC Crvena Zvezda and “ Red and White “ court.
The entry to these courts is free, there is no need to pay anything. Both courts are sky open, so people usually come here during summertime to play.
During the 2018 Euroleague Final Four which was held in Belgrade, the Euroleague has renovated courts that are of historical importance for the city and Serbian basketball, as part of the One Team project.
The basketball courts of the basketball clubs Partizan and Crvena Zvezda have been renovated and the stands were renovated, too. Now the court floor is made of rubber, which is much better for playing and ankle tension.
The court of Crvena Zvezda is much more crowded because it’s famous for organizing big basketball tournaments and also because of the club’s museum filled with all kinds of trophies.
Traditionally strong basketball tournament of the first category in 3×3 FIBA basketball is being held on Crevena Zvezda’s courts. The winner of the “3×3 Belgrade” tournament is placed directly to FIBA Challenger but what is important to point out is that the champions of Belgrade also get a valuable cash prize.
The ” King of the Rock “ qualification tournaments is held on the grounds of KK Crvena Zvezda courts also, in which everyone, amateurs and professionals, who consider themselves brave enough to go out on the line to the opponent and show what they know in the 1-on-1 game, have the right to participate. The best 64 players, from the qualifying tournaments, will fight for the title and go to San Francisco for the Red Bull King of the Rock World Final. They will have a chance to play basketball inside the world’s most famous prison.
It’s interesting that after many and many years BC Crvena Zvezda due COVID 19 pandemic started their fitness preparation on their open sky courts at Kalemegdan.
Returning to house and to the place where basketball was created in this area, is a unique opportunity for many to go back in time and remind how it was decades ago when on the courts of BC Crvena Zvezda also played championship matches after being transferred to the basketball hall
During summer vacation kids have the opportunity to attend basketball school on both courts completely free. The goal is to raise awareness of the sport, healthy life, and basketball in general. On the other side, kids usually have the opportunity to meet their basketball players.
So if you are a basketball player or just a fan, maybe even a tourist. Kalemegdan is just a place for you. An attractive place to play basketball inside the great walls, surrounded by a rich history and two beautiful rivers. Don’t hesitate, come and enjoy it.
Written by ex-professional basketball player and Courts of the World contributor Milos Vujicic from Serbia.