Drazen Petrovic Rumors
James Edwards III: Talked to Bojan Bogdanovic after the game tonight about him becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer from Croatia after his performance in Minny on Saturday. Here’s what he had to say: “It’s big time for me because we’ve had some really, really great players in the league. Toni Kukoc won a couple of rings with MJ in Chicago. We had Drazen Petrovic, who played a couple seasons. Dino Radja was big in Boston, so it’s always a great accomplishment from where I came from and started to play basketball. It’s just big.”
Dino Radja: “I have to say that I am very proud to be one of the pioneers who opened the road for everybody to NBA. Because, before Drazen Petrovic, Divac, Toni Kukoc, Sabonis, myself… There was no belief in European players… that they can succeed. Afterward, we came in and showed everybody that we can succeed, and now the NBA is open. If you see how many international players are in the NBA right now, it is a huge number.”
Former shooting guard Sasha Vujacic never reached the superstar status of any of those players, but he was able to play in some of the biggest games and deliver in some of the highest pressure situations. Vujacic spoke with ClutchPoints in an exclusive interview about how international players are becoming more prominent in the NBA. “I think luckily the game became very global and players have developed,” Vujacic told ClutchPoints. “And for me, being European coming from Europe, I understand what the journey was to get here. And when these kids back in the day saw what Vlade [Divac], Drazen [Petrovic], [Arvydas] Sabonis, all the pioneers did — without naming everybody — and then what different generations did, they got excited and they understood that hard work will pay off.”
The All-Time NBA First and Second European Teams were announced, as voted for by fans in Europe and a blue-ribbon panel of European media, broadcasters, influencers and celebrities. Dirk Nowitzki, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker and Luka Doncic were named to the First Team while Nikola Jokic, Toni Kukoc, Drazen Petrovic, Pedja Stojakovic and Arvydas Sabonis were named to the Second Team.
“It was awful, just awful. For weeks I just thought about it. In the first practice, we stood on the court and just cried. We were not able to play at all. He was one of my best friends. We talked almost every day, we were together a lot. Many years passed, but I still think about him a lot. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever seen, and he also helped me a lot as a player. His way of thinking was so unique. In training, when someone was wrong, Drazen was the first to get upset and comment. Even before the coach. He swept you to strive for the best”.
Petrovic’s close friend and Hall of Famer Dino Radja spoke to Walla and reflected on the moment he learned about the news of his passing, in a traffic accident on the evening of June 7, 1993, and how it still affects him to date. “We were on the team together, we played in the European Championship qualifiers in Berlin, and we were supposed to meet for further training in Zagreb,” Radja tells Walla. “At two in the morning, I got a phone call. My mom called me and informed me. It was one of the most horrible moments of my life. I called Mirko Novosel, who confirmed it was true. At first, I thought maybe he was just injured, but the worst happened”.
Legendary Croatian-born NBA player Dražen Petrović will be portrayed in Danilo Šerbedžija’s upcoming biopic film “Higher Force – The Drazen Petrovic Story” (working title). The film was penned by Ivan Turkovic Krnjak (“Lovebox”) and is being produced by Ljubo Zdjelarević and Ivor Šiber at Zagreb-based Kinoteka. The film will shoot next year in Croatia, Germany, and in the U.S. across Portland and New Jersey. It will be released in 2023 on the 30th anniversary of Petrović’ death.