Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to slowly introduce new features to the site. Y’all have held me down for over two years now (crazy!), and I think you deserve more frequent and fresh posts.
First up to bat is Throwback Thursday. All of you instagrammers know what it is, but for those still saddled with an old, antiquated blackberry, Throwback Thursday is reserved for celebrating the good ol’ days and sharing vintage photos with followers.
I’m remixing that idea for ASE and instead of posting pics, I’ll embed an awesome YouTube clip that highlights a specific throwback sports moment or athlete, and cap it off with a quick blurb. What I’m not going to do is retell every featured athlete’s life story or give you the play-by-play of a specific game. That’s what wikipedia is for. Instead, I’ll put my memory to the test and answer the question, where were you when…?
Without further ado, the person featured in my inaugural Throwback Thursday post is the late great Drazen Petrovic (October 22, 1964 – June 7, 1993). Believe it or not, today marks 19 years since the New Jersey Nets shooting guard, 28, was tragically killed in a car accident.
I’ll never forget that day. I was riding the short bus to school when I heard about Petrovic’s shocking death. Usually, I spent that dreadful bus ride bopping my head to some DJ Red Alert, Marley Marl, Ron G, or Doo Wop mix (RIP 98.7 Kiss FM) on my Sony walkman. But this day, I preferred to listen along to the bus driver’s lite fm radio station. Don’t ask me why. But about 20 minutes into my journey, the DJ took to the airwaves and delivered the horrible and tragic news. Drazen Petrovic was dead.
Whoa. Wait. What? Pump the brakes. I couldn’t believe my ears. The same Petrovic who had led the Croation National Basketball Team to a second place finish against the incomparable Dream Team the summer prior? Or, the Euro dude who came to the league in ’89, joined the Nets in ’91, and wasted no time replacing Kenny Anderson and Derrick Coleman as the leader of the team? That Drazen Petrovic? Dead?
Although his time spent in the NBA was brief, just four years, the sharp shooting 2002 Hall of Fame inductee blazed trails and opened doors for other European players who dreamed of one day playing in the NBA. At the time of his death, it was rumored that Petro planned to return to the Euro league. Maybe so. Maybe no. But I can’t help and wonder what would’ve been. Almost 20 years later, Petro’s untimely death ranks among the NBA’s most harrowing moments.
Check out the clip below and watch some of Petro’s greatest moments as a New Jersey Net. Former teammates Kenny Anderson, Derrick Coleman, Clyde “The Glyde” Drexler and one of his fiercest rivals, Joe Dumars, share their memories of the unforgettable Croation superstar. Also, if you haven’t had a chance to view ESPN’s 30 for 30 Once Brothers documentary about Petrovic’s relationship with Vlade Divac, do it. ASAP. Of all the 30 for 30 documentaries, that was hands down the most moving. Never before had a documentary reduced me to the ugly cry. It’s that good.