Krešimir Ćosić

26 Nov 1948
25 May 1995
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Krešimir Ćosić (26 November 1948 – 25 May 1995) was a Croatian professional basketball player who represented Yugoslavia internationally, a collegiate All-American at Brigham Young University, and a member of FIBA Hall of Fame and Basketball Hall of Fame.

He was also a notable church leader and missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as the deputy ambassador of Croatia to the U.S. in Washington, D.C.

He was born in Zagreb and raised in Zadar, where he started his basketball career in 1965, playing for KK Zadar.
He came to the United States to play college basketball at Brigham Young University from 1971 to 1973.

In the 1972 NBA Draft he was picked by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 10th round (144th overall).

The following year at the 1973 NBA Draft he was picked by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 5th round (84th overall).

He was the first foreign player to earn All-American honors from the United Press International, garnering them in 1972 and 1973.

After his college career, he rejected several professional offers and returned home to Yugoslavia.

Ćosić played in four Olympic Games: 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980 in Moscow when he led his team to the gold medal. He previously led Yugoslavia to a pair of World Championship gold medals in 1970 and 1978.

Following his playing days, he turned to coaching, and led the former Yugoslav team to a silver medal in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and two bronze medals at the 1986 FIBA World Championship and 1987 EuroBasket.

In 1996 Ćosić became only the third international player ever elected to the world’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball.

During his time at the Brigham Young University, he converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and later served as the LDS presiding priesthood holder in post-communist Croatia.

He was baptized by Hugh Nibley, one of the LDS church’s most celebrated scholars. Ćosić also introduced the LDS Church to Yugoslavia.

He translated the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants into Croatian.

In the years following basketball he worked in the United States as a Croatian diplomat at the embassy in Washington, D.C., having helped secure the land where the embassy now stands.

Ćosić died in Baltimore, Maryland in 1995 of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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