Brooklyn Nets in Croatia? Biserka Petrović on Dražen’s 30th Anniversary Plans

Daniela Rogulj

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Marin Tironi/PIXSELL
Marin Tironi/PIXSELL

On the HRT Sport and Music show, Biserka Petrović exclusively announced the arrival of the ‘New Jersey Nets’ in Croatia while presenting the recently published book The Greatest Successes of Croatian Sports by Davor Lulić and Dražen Beraković. In addition, the mother of deceased basketballer Dražen Petrović spoke to Lovorko Magdić about what they have in mind to honor one of Croatia’s greatest. 

“If we don’t write it down, it didn’t happen. We have so many athletes in all sports that we need to have two or three more of these books,” Petrović said to HRT.

“In front of the Dražen Museum is the Light of Croatian Sport; it is not just for him; it is for all athletes. Isn’t it nice to preserve everything and to take care of our heritage and the athletes who left their legacy? So we have to work on that,” she added and then revealed her plans.

“The foundation has made its expansion of the Museum, and we are working on the project. For the 30th anniversary, we are negotiating with the New Jersey Nets (Dražen played for the New Jersey Nets from 1991 to 1993, though the club is now called the Brooklyn Nets) about playing a game in Croatia. There is no specific date yet; we will leave it to them when the date suits them, we will not tie it to a birthday or anniversary, but something big has to be done for the 30th anniversary.”

Could this mean the Brooklyn Nets will face the Croatia national team?

“We will see, it is difficult to put together the best players from Europe, but we will work on that. I can’t say more now, but we are working on it,” concluded Biserka Petrović.

On June 7, 1993, 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, with 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. Then, having achieved everything in Europe, he went to the strongest league globally – the NBA.

Although he was on the bench more than he played for the first season due to politics inside Portland, he showed his phenomenal talent with the New Jersey Nets two years later. He was the team’s top shooter in 1992 (primarily at three-pointers) and 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.

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


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