Monday, 7 June 2021

Remembering Dražen Petrović 28 Years Later

June 7, 2021 - Remembering Dražen Petrović, who died 28 years ago today. 

On this day, 28 years ago, Dražen Petrović, a member of the Croatia basketball team and one of the best Croatian athletes of all time, was killed in a car accident on the motorway near the German city of Ingolstadt.

He was a basketball player and a role model, the Mozart of sports, but tragically died at the age of 29 during the peak of his playing career.

Dražen played his last match against Slovenia in the qualifications for the European Championship in Wroclaw. It was June 5, 1993. The Croatia national team returned from Poland by plane, but Dražen set off in a car with his girlfriend behind the wheel. He has no idea it would be his last drive.

 

Dražen was born on October 22, 1964, in Šibenik. His love for basketball has been with him since he was a small child. His exceptional perseverance and dedication to daily training with undeniable talent quickly made him one of the best in all age groups.

At the age of sixteen, he joined the Šibenik first team. He brought his hometown to the title of Yugoslav champion in 1983.

Cibona and Real Madrid were unreachable to all European clubs when Dražen played in their ranks. Having achieved everything in Europe, he went to the strongest league in the world - the NBA.

Although he sat more than played for the first season due to politics inside Portland, he showed his phenomenal talent two years later with the New Jersey Nets. Not only was he the team’s best shooter in 1992 (especially at three-pointers), but also the best European to have played in the NBA league so far. 

 

That year, Dražen led the Croatia national team to its greatest success, silver at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, ​​in the final clash with the only real Dream Team played by the best representatives of the NBA and some of the best basketball players in history - Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen, and others.

As a player, he received the Franjo Bučar State Award for Sports in 1992, and posthumously, this time for his life's work, he received the same award in 2002.

 

He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.

Source: HRT

 

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Croatia Marks 27 Years without Drazen Petrovic

June 7, 2020 - Just before the summer of 1993, a traffic accident on the highway near the German city of Ingolstadt deprived Croatia of one of the best athletes of all time - the one and only Drazen Petrovic.

June 7 was thus turned into a day of shock, sadness, and disbelief, and every June 7 that followed into a day of remembrance. 

The basketball genius had left an indelible mark globally, though we will never know his full impact since he was taken from us before he turned 30.

Drazen made his first basketball steps in his hometown of Sibenik, moved to Cibona in 1984, and the same year, won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In the final of the European Cup against Real Madrid in 1985, Drazen scored 36 points, and Cibona took the Cup. Only a year later, with the Yugoslav national team, he won bronze at the World Cup in Spain.

In 1988, he signed for Real Madrid, the same team he scored 36 points against in the Cibona jersey. A year later, he left for the NBA to join the Portland Blazers, a club where he failed to show his skills. With the Yugoslav national team, he won silver at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, while in 1989, Drazen took the European title. At the 1990 World Cup in Buenos Aires, he also won his first gold in the Yugoslav jersey.

Drazen left Portland behind to continue his NBA story with the New Jersey Nets, where, among other above-average results, his average shot accuracy for three-pointers was 43.7%, which is still the fourth-highest score in the NBA, even 27 years since his last game. Until recently, Drazen held third place, though Seth Curry from the Mavericks jumped into second place this season.

Not long after his death, on November 11, 1993, Drazen's jersey number 3 was retired at the Nets Hall. In 1995, the Croatian Olympic Committee donated a monument to Drazen Petrovic to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, and the work of sculptor Vasko Lipovac was placed in the park in front of the Olympic Museum. In 2002, Drazen was posthumously admitted to the Springfield Basketball Hall of Fame, where he is still called the Croatian Mozart.

A museum-memorial center named after him was opened in Zagreb in 2006, and in the same year, the Croatian Olympic Committee named an award after Drazen Petrovic, intended exclusively for young athletes, men's and women's teams for outstanding sports results and sports development.

As life passes us by, Drazen continues to inspire. 

Source: Dalmacija Danas

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Music Video Dedicated to Late Drazen Petrovic Released for His 55th Birthday

November 16, 2019 - A music video dedicated to the late Croatian basketball great Drazen Petrovic was released on what would have been his 55th birthday.  

The music video Drazen – za sva vrimena (Drazen – for all time) was presented at a ceremony at the Drazen Petrovic Musem – Memorial Centre in Zagreb, where it was also announced that a musical dedicated to the legend would premiere next year.

Musician Stanko Šarić wrote the song, while the video was filmed at the Drazen Petrovic Musem – Memorial Centre and Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb and produced by Antonio Zadro. 

The musical, titled Bound Amadeus, will premiere on 22 October 2020 on what would have been 56th birthday. 

“Drazen’s journey through Sibenik, Cibona, Real, the NBA and the Croatian basketball team is more or less known and valorised, but what needs to be unveiled are all those crucial life moments that determine the final direction and path that is impossible to tell from the sum of titles he won, and the goal of this project is to get a glimpse of Dražen’s perspective through a musical – a contemporary ancient greek tragedy with music,” said screenwriter Drazen Runje.

Drazen’s mother, Biserka, was also present at the presentation. 

“I’m sure my Drazen couldn’t have imagined that on his 55th birthday, his life would be turned into a work of art,” said Biserka Petrovic.

Born in the Dalmatian town of Sibenik on 22 October 1964, Petrovic was just 28 years of age when he was killed in a car accident in Germany after returning from playing for Croatia in Poland on 7 June 1993. Voted the Best European Basketball Player in History, Petrovic enjoyed an illustrious career winning Olympic basketball medals, as well as a gold and a bronze at the  World and European Championships.

Text by Drazen Runje

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

On this Day: Croatia and USA Basketball 'Dream Team' Meet at '92 Olympics

August 8, 2019 - On this day in 1992, Croatia met the USA 'Dream Team' in the gold medal game of the Olympic in Barcelona. 

There are a handful of games that, some justified, some farfetched, have been declared historic in Croatian sport for more than a quarter of a century. One game which has no debate was the one for the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics when Croatia and the United States met in the final round. It happened on this day, August 8, in the hall of the Palau Municipal d'Esports de Badalona, reports Gol.hr on August 8, 2018.

On the one hand, the American ‘Dream Team’, without any dilemma, presented the best basketball team of all time, led by Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin, Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler and Christian Laettner. 

And on the other, Croatia featured Dražen Petrović, Toni Kukoć, Dino Rađa, Velimir Perasović, Danko Cvjetičanin, Vladan Alanović, Žan Tabak, Stojko Vranković, Alan Gregov, Petar Muslim, Arijan Komazec and Aramis Naglić, led by coach Petar Skansi. 

At a time when the Croatian Homeland War was in progress and much of the country was under occupation, Croatian athletes were its best ambassadors. Recall, Goran Ivanišević had just won the first Croatian Olympic medal at the '92 Games (bronze in the singles competition and bronze in the doubles with Goran Prpić), which helped to put Croatia on the map. Thus, Croatia’s final match against the USA would be watched by the whole world.

Jordan, Magic & Co. were ruthless throughout the entire tournament, not allowing any national team to lead against them at any point. The pattern was always the same - the USA would rip through you like a hurricane from the beginning, creating an unreachable difference. Then, in the second half, the best would sit on the bench so that the minutes would be distributed to the other players. 

However, a fearless Croatia achieved what otherwise seemed unimaginable - and in the middle of the first half, Croatia took the lead! Kukoč gave the ball to Franjo Arapović, who scored for the 25:24 Croatia lead. 

Croatia lost the gold medal game 85:117, though it was a moment that will forever remain recorded in the almanacs of Croatian basketball. If for nothing else, then as a reminder of the level Croatian basketball used to be.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 20 December 2018

American Journalist Insults Dražen Petrović, Invites Wave of Criticism

An American journalist insults Dražen Petrović and invites a wave of criticism on social media for her clumsy statement, for which she appears to have offered no apology.

As SibenikIN writes on the 19th of December, 2018, in a short video clip about Carmelo Anthony and his legacy, American journalist Elle Duncan mentions Croatia's basketball legend Dražen Petrović, bizarrely claiming that he found himself in the Hall of Fame despite the fact that he, at least according to her, ''didn't leave his mark on the game'' like Carmelo Anthony has. In short, Carmelo Anthony and his career were glorified in the video clip, as tportal reported.

After having listed what could be placed as Anthony's legacy within the sport, the American journalist insults Dražen Petrović, stating that the list ''doesn't mean much'' because Dražen Petrović (which was also pronounced wrongly) is there," before claiming that the Croatian basketball star ''didn't leave his mark on the game'' like Anthony did.

In short and without going on and on, the American ESPN journalist obviously thinks some basketball players who weren't that great at the NBA have also still managed to find their places in the Hall of Fame.

As could be expected, shortly after the release of this video material, the style of which was intended to be amusing somehow, comments began being made in which the vast majority of readers thought that the journalist's ''performance'' was ridiculous, others stated how much of a sad state of affairs it must be for someone like her to be commenting on basketball.

This poses the question as to exactly why Croatia's incredible Dražen Petrović, of all the possible basketball players in the Hall of Fame, can be a bad example in Duncan's opinion? Just how the iconic Dražen Petrović, who played an enormous part in making it possible for many foreign players to get a chance in that world, could be a poor example, obviously only she knows. Does she know anything at all about Dražen's sporting career before joining the NBA, during which he dominated the court in the then Yugoslav and the Croatian national team? Unlikely.

The American journalist's Twitter profile, on which some extremely negative comments have been being received, is completely buried. Of course, more than 90 percent of the basketball lovers commenting ''invited'' her to apologise for her mistake, but it seems she's refusing to do so. The fact that she has offended Dražen Petrović, his family, and all those who appreciate the Mozart of basketball, clearly doesn't phase her. Her knowledge of the fact that there is a Museum dedicated to Dražen Petrović himself in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, which has been visited by many NBA stars, as well as numerous American journalists, is probably also slim.

''It's unbelievable and unnecessary to show such a lack of respect for Dražen Petrović. He was a fantastic basketball player who created a path for all other European basketball players in the NBA. He was tragically injured before he could give anything to the NBA. You could've done this without mentioning Dražen,'' stated one comment.

''Only a completely ignorant person can claim that Dražen Petrović didn't leave a mark in basketball. Dražen left his mark all over the world and achieved incredible things before he even reached the NBA. No wonder everyone thinks of ESPN as bad television when you've got such reporters,'' reads another scathing comment.

In order to glorify someone, one doesn't need to put another down. This is usually something learned early on in life, but that lesson obviously hasn't reached everyone.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated sport and lifestyle pages for much more.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

VICE Sports Examines How Dražen Petrović Paved the Way for Croatian Basketball (VIDEO)

In their latest episode, Vice Sports dives into the career of Croatia’s legendary basketball player Dražen Petrović and how his arrival into the NBA changed the outlook of European players forever.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Mozart of Basketball: Remembering Dražen Petrović 25 Years On

Today we remember the ‘Mozart of basketball’ Dražen Petrović who left us 25 years ago. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

On this Day 29 Years Ago, Dražen Petrović Played the Game of His Career

On this day 29 years ago, Croatian basketball legend Dražen Petrović played the game of his career. 

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Brooklyn Nets Remember the Legend Dražen Petrović (Video)

Ahead of their game against the Chicago Bulls, the Brooklyn Nets honored the legacy of Croatian basketball legend Dražen Petrović.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Nets to Celebrate Dražen Petrović's Legacy with a Game on Feb 26th against Chicago Bulls

Some memories are there to stay, even a quarter of a century later.

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