dition of Danny Ainge. Despite having the ability to scoring 8–10 pts in four
minutes, Blazers coach Rick Adelman never found a role for Dražen. Dražen
would often call his friend Vlade Divac, Yugoslavia National teammate and
Los Angeles Laker, and voice his dissatisfaction. Divac said it was sad to see
Dražen score 40, 50, 60 points in Europe and see him get joy in scoring 2pts
(Once Brothers). “Eighteen months in Portland was a living hell for Dražen,”
claimed his brother Aleksandar (Dražen Petrović). Dražen would frequently read the bible during the season to find hope that he could truly show he
was the Mozart of Basketball. Why didn’t Rick Adelman play Dražen more? Nobody knows but him. Clyde Drexler claimed he had the talent to be an
all-star. Dražen knew that his only obstacle to succeed is playing time. The following season Dražen grew impatient, Portland decided to let go of Dražen and traded him to the New Jersey Nets.
Petro is his new name dubbed by the New Jersey fans. Petrović was re-
born wearing a Nets jersey. He was given opportunity immediately. In the
91–92 season he was named starter and did not disappoint. Averaging 36.9 minutes per game and averaged 20.6ppg; 51% FG; 45% from 3. He quickly became the rising guards in the league. “It felt like he was born again. He
was playing,he was accepted, he was so happy. New jersey was happy.
Everyone was happy,” Dražen’s mother said joyfully (Once Brothers). In the
following season he became a top guard. Averaging 22.3 ppg; 52% FG; 44%
from 3. He was receiving the recognition from other players that he deserved. Reggie Miller told Jan Hubbard, basketball journalist, that he loved playing
against Dražen because he can talk trash in four languages (Once Brothers).
Miller even went as far as claiming Dražen was the best shooter he has ever
seen (Open Court). Joe Dumars, a premier defender said he was a shooting
machine, “He dropped 30 on me so fast that night. I got hand in his face I am
right up on him and was just like a machine” (Once Brothers). Petrović scored NBA career high in pts with 44 points against Hakeem Olajuwon’s Rockets. Dražen would make a reunion playing against his former team, Portland
Trail Blazers. Dražen received a standing ovation from Portland fans. Dražen commented on the situation, “At times, I felt very uncomfortable… they ap-
plauded me throughout the whole game. And that meant they liked me. And believed in me” (Dražen Petrović).
After the the 93’ NBA season Dražen decided to take a trip back home to prepare for the 1993 Eurobasket in Germany. He arrived in Frankfurt, Germany
where he arranged to meet his girlfriend, Klara Szalantzy, who promised to
wait for him at the airport. Dražen took the passenger seat of a red Volkswa-
gen Golf, while Szalantzy drove. Dražen decided to take a nap through the trip. It was a rainy day. Szalantzy going as much as 100 mph on the Ger-
man Autobahn, and she did not have the ability to stop promptly. On June
7th, 1993 5:20 PM, Dražen Petrović died in car collision with a truck on the
highway (Spehr). Dražen was 28 years old. His funeral drew 100,000 people
in the capital. Croatia viewed Dražen as a national hero, and many Croatians
felt they have lost a son. When Dražen’s mother visited his tomb a month later, a man and his grandson said to her, “Don’t be sad. You gave birth to him, but he doesn’t only belong to you, but us too (Once Brothers). 56 >
The Macomb Community College journal of student words and images.