The Mozart of Basketball – Dražen Petrović

 

Every basketball fan won’t need more than a second to recall the name of Dražen Petrović. A life story so unreal, dreamy and tragic at the same time calls for a movie adaptation, at least. A boy from Šibenik who found interest in basketball by looking at his older brother while playing it, merged incredible talent and lots of hard work to achieve a career generation of basketball players later could only dream of. His ability was recognized by scouts at his early age and from Šibenik, barely legal, he started to play for Croatia’s biggest club Cibona. Later on, he moved to Spain to play for Real Madrid and at the same time lead the Croatian national team to the 1st place in World Championship in Argentina in 1990.

It didn’t take long for the NBA scouts to pull Dražen Petrović to the US. He started his American career in Portland Trail Blazers and afterward in the team that marked his blissful career, New Jersey Nets. He was indeed a respected and fantastic player in the Nets team, especially after the finals in the 1992 Olympics where he leads Croatia against USA’s Dream Team (Jordan, Bird, Pippen, Drexler, etc.).

His life tragically ended in the summer of 1993 in Germany where he lost his life in a car accident as a passenger in a car driven by his girlfriend. At the time of his death, he was only 29 years old and in the prime of his career.
His legacy lives after almost 25 years from his death, from several sculptures in Croatia and Switzerland, a place in the Basketball Hall of Fame, a memorial center in Zagreb and never having anyone wearing a jersey with number 3 written on it in the Nets.

Dražen Petrovič statue, Šibenik, Croatia photo credit by Dream Division
Dražen Petrovič statue, Šibenik, Croatia photo credit by Dream Division

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