By Lefteris Moutis / firstname.lastname@example.org
The book «Drazen – Years of the Dragon» or “Drazen – Godine Zmaja” according to the original title are coming to bookstores of ex-Yugoslavia on the 3rd of June. The subject, as you may have guessed, is the unforgettable Drazen Petrovic.
The two writers Marjan Crnogaj and Vlado Radicevic after three years of research have captured not only the spirit of the legendary “Mozzart” of European basketball, but also reveal some unkown facts about his career that ended prematurelly because of his death.
Basketball personalities like Vlade Divac, Clyde Drexler, Mike Fratello, Arvydas Sabonis, Boris Stankovic, David Stern, Bogdan Tanjevic, Dino Radja and his close friend Stojan Vrankovic among others are speaking about him and there’s one very interesting chapter about his career.
The ex-general manager of Panathinaikos Tasos Stefanou confirms what would have been the return of Drazen Petrovic to the Europe.
“I will never forget it. It was 7.15 a.m. and my phone ringed. It was mister Pavlos (ed.note: then-owner and persident of Panathinaikos Pavlos Giannakopoulos)
“We lost him Tassos”, he said to me and I didn’t understood what he ment.
“Who?” I asked and he answered: “Drazen”.
“But we have a verbal agreement with him and a pre-contract which was send to your office”.
“He died today in a car crash”, he said.
I froze. I didn’t know what to say. The president cried on the phone for 15 minutes”.
Drazen was a choice of the teenage at the time son of the president, Dimitris Giannakopoulos. Panathinaikos wanted to make him a duo with Greek-American legend Nick Galis.
According to the book, Drazen had decided to return to Europe and his first choice was Panathinaikos, even if he had many more offers. He wanted to stay for one or two seasons in Greece and then return to the NBA in order to sign with the Celtics. It’s been said that he had a soft spot for teams which had the shamrock as their emblem, like Panathinaikos, Notre Dame and the Celtics. Fate had other plans for him…