I was just a child when he died, i was in Croatia, his home and where my grandmother was born, i couldn't understand much about what basketball was, couldn't even lift a regular ball at that time, but i could see the grief in everyone's face when talking about one man. War was still raging, echoes of it were distant from were i was but you could feel it, people was scared but everyone, from children to elderly, stopped thinking about war and shared one heartfelt moment when the news that one man died in a car accident.
I remember the news everywhere and i can't forget hearing that name, Drazen...Drazen...Drazen... again and again. Years later as a kid playing basketball and looking up at the NBA i chose to root for the team with the best symbol, the Charlotte Hornets, those were the days of the "infamous" trade of a young Kobe for a gritty, old fashioned Serbian center called Vlade. I immediatly felt simpathy for that man, the first of my long lasting love of centers, loved his game, loved his character, loved his team. It was during that period, just after the end of schools here that i heard an interview to Vlade Divac, in the fourth anniversary of this tragic day i heard that word again "Drazen...Drazen.." I asked my brothers and my coaches who was he and that was the day i discovered The Mozart of Basketball, i was given vhs registrations of his games and thought he was the greatest thing to ever happen in basketball.
Drazen is the reason i love the Nets and will always call this my team. He and Divac are the reasons i love this game as much as i do. My grandmother left Croatia before my mother was born but even so i feel bound to that place more than anywhere else, my love for basketball and one of its greatest players in Drazen is a declaration of love for that place.
Tomorrow here in Treviso at the Adidas Eurocamp for international prospects will partecipate as a guest of honor and coach Vlade Divac, i will go to him and tell how much he meant to me and how much it meant Drazen even if i couldn't see him when he was still with us.
Today, 21 years ago died the reason i love basketball, the reason i love the Nets. Today died the greatest european player that ever lived and ever will, maybe one of the greatest in all the world.
Rest In Peace Drazen, you'll be forever missed.
I am going to ask from all of you who loved Drazen Petrovic one thing. I wish for Drazen to stay in your memories as a man who raised his hands towards you after every basket he made….because he was looking for you, his fans. I want you to remember Drazen as a man who brought joy to you, his smile…treasure those moments of Drazen, forever. Destiny took him away from us, probably at the peek of his career, to become a legend, to show us the way... (Aleksandar Petrovic)