Versus Bosna in the Championship game

 

SIBENKA Sibenik Story

 

Most of the young players work their way through junior leagues hopping to get to the ‘first team’ (professional level). Drazen had a different plan. He entered ‘first team’ of Sibenka when he was only fifteen years old. The players on the team were 10-15 years older than Drazen, but he wasn't intimidated by their experience nor by basketball knowledge.

Coach Slavnic, who as, Drazen’s brother Aleksandar would say, had courage to play with younger players, saw in Drazen the power and intellect that could take his team to wanted heights. And he was right...
A leader at the age of seventeen, Aleksandar said, he probably was not aware of it…he did not force the leadership… it simply came naturally to him.

Drazen truly got on his own in 1982. when he took his club to the Korac Cup finals losing to Limoges (France), but still it was a tremendous success for such a small club and a young star. Drazen knew that actual challenge was still ahead of him. Getting back to the basic was a natural step for him. Back to the gym, six, seven, eight hours a day practicing…to the perfection.

Workaholic, fanatic…addicted to basketball - yes, he was. And do you know why? Not because he spent seven, eight hours a day in the gym, but because he never took a single day off.
- Aleksandar Petrovic

At the age of eighteen, Drazen overcome his opponents using his talent, dribbling, mind…he realized early in his life what practice and hard work will do for his career… It will make him better than anyone else.

His dedication again takes him far, way beyond anyone in his generation and older. Drazen was only 18 years old when he became the best player in the country taking his club Sibenka to National championship. Even though Drazen sank down two free throws to win the series, the politics conquered sportsmanship. Two days later, the championship was taken away from Sibenka supposedly of bad refereeing.

"Sibenik in my heart ...forever"
Unseen injustice in the National championship did not stop Drazen to take his club to another Korac Cup final. European exposure made him eagerly wanted overseas. Professional clubs in the European league and US Universities desperately wanted young Croatian star. Drazen expectedly become the most wanted person on the continent. He knew that it was time to go. Sibenik become too small for his basketball visions.

If it is a truth that the first love is the one we'll always remember, then Sibenik will stay in my heart forever. Everything started there, and even though I always tried to push my emotions aside, it is impossible to forget those early days. Watching Aleksandar practice, my first practice… all those hours that I spent alone on the basketball court. Just a ball, a basket and I.

Sibenika ensured my career and showed me the way. And this story has no end. I hope, that Sibenik will understand…. to achieve what I want from basketball, I'll have to move on. I ought to close one circle, to open another one.
- Drazen Petrovic

 

"No one in Sibenik forced me to work this hard. At least not as hard as I did. For me, this was perfectly normal. If by some reason I didn't go to practice, and that could only be purely coincidental, I would immediately get sick. For me to miss practice was almost like a deadly sin."

Drazen Petrovic (1980)