MIES (Switzerland) – Stanislav Kropilak, recognized as the best Slovakian player of the 20th Century, is being inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame.
Kropilak (Slovakia) is being enshrined in the Class of 2021, along with legendary players Mathieu Faye (Senegal) Hana Horakova (Czech Republic), Panagiotis Giannakis (Greece), Oscar Moglia (Uruguay – posthumously), Detlef Schrempf (Germany), Penka Stoyanova (Bulgaria – posthumously), Sergey Tarakanov (Russia) and Haixia Zheng (China) and coaching greats Chuck Daly (USA – posthumously), Tom Maher (Australia) and Ettore Messina (Italy).
If there was a towering figure in Czechoslovakian basketball that was an automatic selection in the national team, it was Kropilak, a 2.08m (6ft 10in) power forward/center who won, from 1979 to 1985, four league championships with Inter Bratislava and another with RH Pardubice.
Kropilak was an ever present at FIBA EuroBaskets, appearing at the event seven consecutive times from 1975 to 1987. He was among best players at the hoops extravaganza on the old continent, too, helping the Czechoslovakians finish third in both 1977 and 1981 and runners-up in 1985.
He was also a two-time Olympian, playing in both Montreal in 1976 and Moscow in 1980. A whopping 10 straight times, from 1975 to 1984, Kropilak was the Slovakian Player of the Year.
After learning he’d be enshrined to the FIBA Hall of Fame, Kropilak said: “I never thought of such a thing and I didn’t set such goals that I had to ambitiously achieve this or that. First of all, as a boy, I devoted myself to all available sports. My parents led me to sports.
“As I grew up a little more, I went to basketball. Maybe it was also because in elementary school, in Kvacalka, they played basketball. But I never set specific goals.
“Maybe only now, on my old knees, am I fully aware of some of the results I have achieved. Of course, not alone – basketball is a team sport… This is a great honor.”
Kropilak is currently the president of BK Inter Bratislava.