When Nets sharpshooter Anthony Morrow began to compete in the 3-point shooting contest during All-Star weekend. Anthony paid homage to another New Jersey marksman who came years before him…Drazen Petrovic.
Watching Morrow rock the old school blue road uniform, brought back a lot of great memories of the 6-5 guard, who could light it up any moment. Now, for all of you younger Nets fans. Drazen was more than just a shooter, he had a silky smooth game that amazed many American basketball fans especially at the time when European players we’re being criticized for being too soft or too slow.
Petro broke that mold displaying toughness, passion and knowledge on the court. I remember watching Drazen play against the original Dream Team in the 1992 Olympics. When he battled it out with Michael Jordan in Chicago during a game against the Bulls. But, the BEST known memory of Petro is when he hit a big shot to get the Nets into the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons in 1993. Watching the emotion and joy that Drazen displayed running down the court, as the home fans went crazy and the famous announcer call of “You gotta love it!”
Longtime Nets fans remember the happiness that Petro brought to New Jersey. So it truly stunned and hurt all of us, when we heard of his untimely death at age 28. It’s ironic that my dad was in Germany at the time of Drazen Petrovic’s passing and he told me how the people over there we’re in great state of grieving and loss. Well, I knew that the NBA was also feeling a great deal of pain.
Now, every time I visit the Prudential Center. I look up in the rafters and stare at the white number 3 jersey hanging above us. Drazen Petrovic paved the way for players like Dirk Nowitzki to come into the NBA and demonstrate their unique skills to the world. As Nets fans, we should feel blessed that we had Petro on our team.
R.I.P. Drazen Petrovic 1964-1993
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Written by Mark Cook