Sports Nicknames - Croatian Mozart

Drazen Petrovic is one of those players that goes somewhat under the radar for those outside of the basketball realm. Yet, the Croatian opened the door for many Europeans to make the transition to play basketball in the NBA.

Drazen Petrovic aka The Croatian Mozart - Illustration - Drawing - Profile avatar.  Art.

Petrovic was born in Yugoslavia before the country's dissolution, playing basketball from a young age. He started playing professionally in 1984, becoming a key figure in Cibona Zagreb's rise to success. He also played for the Yugoslavian and Croatian national teams, winning a bronze and silver medal at the Olympics and gold at the FIBA World Cup and FIBA EuroBasket.

Petrovic made a brief move to Real Madrid before joining the Portland Trail Blazers in 1989. However, he spent most of the time on the bench and forced a move to the New Jersey Nets 2 years later. The team had not even made the playoffs since 1986, but Petrovic was determined to change that. He immediately started showing his worth, helping the team to the playoffs in his first full season with the team.

Unfortunately, Petrovic was not to cement his legacy across the entire NBA, as he died in a car accident in 1993. He was only 28. Petrovic's number 3 jersey was retired by the Nets, while he received a basketball hall named after him and enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Drazen Petrovic was voted the best European Basketball player in history in 2013. There's a reason why. His determination to succeed at the top level led a team out of stagnation and into the playoffs. It is only a shame he didn't get the chance to take them further.


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