For all the titles he has won and the accolades he has received, the 2017-18 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four will give Zeljko Obradovic the opportunity to record an achievement he has never accomplished before: win back-to-back European titles with the same team. The Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul chief is the winningest coach in European basketball history and has become the continental champion in consecutive campaigns in the past; he lifted the trophy with Joventut Badalona in 1994 and again with Real Madrid a year later. But taking the same team to glory in successive seasons has always eluded him; his five titles at Panathinaikos were all separated by at least two years (2000, 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011).
Obradovic has his sights set on reaching that goal with Fenerbahce following last season’s impressively-earned EuroLeague triumph on home soil in Istanbul. Though he is coaching the defending champion, not all his players are reigning champs because the Fenerbahce roster underwent a series of significant departures last summer. The fact that Obradovic has remodeled the team so effectively is no surprise, considering the remarkably consistent success he has enjoyed in an array of different environments over the course of his glorious career. Now in his 23rd EuroLeague season, Obradovic has only once overseen a team with a losing record, when Panathinaikos went 9-11 in 2003-04, and his sides have won at least 70% of their games in 13 of those campaigns.
This particular Final Four will be extra special for Obradovic since it is staged in his native Serbia, allowing him to return to the city where his playing career ended and his coaching career began with Partizan. That fact that is sure to earn Fenerbahce some adopted fans for the duration of the weekend and his many admirers will be confident that the remarkable coach will write yet another chapter in his already-loaded personal history book.