By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Drazen Petrovic will be portrayed in a biopic, as reported by Variety.
“This is not just another sports movie but a drama that deals with the phenomenon of Petrović’ fighting spirit and genius and the larger than life character that exploded into the courts of the American NBA from Europe,” explained Croatian film director Danilo Serbedzija, “The film also focuses on his personal life off the court and examines the challenges and insecurities of being a unique athlete.”
Casting is underway for the film currently labeled “Higher Force – The Drazen Petrovic Story” as the working title. Penned by Zagreb-born writer Ivan Turkovic Krnjak, it is being produced by Ljubo Zdjelarevic and Ivor Siber at Kinoteka.
According to the producers, many players paid tribute to Petrovic. LeBron James described him as “the best international player of all time”, Reggie Miller as “the guy who got under my skin,” and Michael Jordan said “it was a thrill to play against Drazen. Every time we competed, he competed with an aggressive attitude. He wasn’t nervous; he came at me as hard as I came to him. So we’ve had some great battles in the past and unfortunately, they were short battles.”
Scenes will be filmed in Croatia, Germany, and the USA starting next year. The movie will be released in 2023 on the 30th anniversary of his death.
Nicknamed Mozart, Petrovic died in a car accident in June 1993, at the age of 28. He was coming off three NBA seasons and 319 games played between the Portland Trail Blazers and New Jersey Nets. The European portion of his career, including EuroLeague championships in 1985 and 1986 with Cibona, also featured a stint at Real Madrid in 1988-89.
After his life was tragically cut short, his jersey number 3 was retired by the Nets, and the Cibona Sports Center was named Drazen Petrovic Basketball Hall in his honor. He also received Olympic Order in 1993 and was posthumously enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 and to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2007.