By Eurohoops Team/ email@example.com
From a small European town to the NBA is not as rare as cousins from the same town making the overseas jump, accomplishing their dream, and proving it’s more than possible to the next generation. That was the case with Ivica Zubac following in Zoran Planinic’s footsteps. The Los Angeles Clippers big via the Legit Check podcast talked about how he drew inspiration from the former New Jersey Net and cousin.
“What really pushed me into chasing basketball, even more, was my cousin making the NBA too, in 2003. That’s when he got drafted,” he reflected on that extra push provided by Planinic, “Seeing him coming from the same place that I grew up, made me realize ‘I can do this too. If he can do it, I can do it too,’ That was my biggest motivation. Seeing him get drafted, playing in the NBA.”
“Sometimes it looked like it wasn’t possible, but I still went through everything,” he added commenting on his path towards the NBA, “It paid off.”
The cousins were born in Mostar and lived in Citluk, a small Bosnian town of 5,000 residents. However, they both moved to Zagreb, Croatia, at a young age pursuing the NBA dream.
“I had to move out when I was 14 and live by myself in the capital of Croatia,” Zubac remembered. “That’s when it got a little serious. From there, I played on the Croatian national team.”
Zubac played for the Lakers up to February 2019 and his trade to the Clippers. He quickly evolved into a key member of the squad and with his second LA team competed in the playoffs for the first time.
As for his 2019-20 season run, the Croatian big played in 64 contests up to the decision to pause the season due to the coronavirus pandemic earning 62 starts in the process. His averages were 8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 0.9 blocks per game.
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