Divac reacts to the death of Jerry West: “One of the saddest days”

2024-06-12T17:53:11+00:00 2024-06-13T19:03:04+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

12/Jun/24 17:53

Chris Marion / Getty Images / Ideal Image

Drafting Vlade Divac in 1989, Jerry West elevated the career of the Serbian center into the NBA

By Johnny Askounis/ info@eurohoops.net

Adding to a sad day with emotional reactions across the NBA and around the world, Vlade Divac opened up on Jerry West after his passing on Wednesday.

“One of the saddest days of my life. Jerry was someone with a big role in my life. He made a big contribution to my playing career. When you say Jerry, it means the NBA. He is an institution,” Divac reacted to the death of West via the Serbian outlet Meridian Sport.

Back in 1989, one year after helping Yugoslavia capture silver medals in the Olympic Games in Seoul, Divac was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers and West with the 26th overall pick of the draft to replace retiring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Paving the way for future European stars dominating the league based in North America, he spent the next seven years with the Lakers. Returning to the storied franchise in the 2004-05 season, following five years with the Sacramento Kings and two years with the Charlotte Hornets, he wrapped up his playing days.

Divac is widely considered among the pioneers for players coming in from Europe to hold their own on the court in the best league of the world. From developing his talents in Belgrade and Partizan, he established himself as one of the best centers in the history of the NBA. In 2019, groundbreaking efforts received more recognition with his induction into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. The FIBA Hall of Fame welcomed him in 2010.

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