Vlade Divac Announces Retirement; Accepts Position With Lakers
EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Oct. 18 -- Vlade Divac, one of the NBA’s most popular centers and one of the first European players to have a major impact in the NBA, announced today that he will retire from basketball.
A 16-year NBA veteran, Divac, who originally began his career with the Lakers when Los Angeles selected him in the first round (26th overall) of the 1989 NBA Draft, resigned with the team on July 20, 2004 and appeared in 15 games last season. In his first seven NBA seasons with the Lakers, Divac averaged 12.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 520 games. In 51 postseason games with Los Angeles, he increased his scoring average to 12.8 points while pulling down 7.0 rebounds per game.
Named to the 1989-90 NBA All-Rookie First Team, Divac helped the Lakers reach the 1991 NBA Finals in his second season and increased his scoring average in each of his first six seasons, recording a career-best 16.0 points per game during the 1994-95 campaign.
In 1996, Divac was traded to the Charlotte Hornets where he spent two years before signing as a free agent with the Sacramento Kings in 1998. During his six-year career with the Kings, Divac enjoyed a great deal of success including being named to the 2001 NBA All-Star team and helping his team advance to the Western Conference Finals in 2002.
Divac finishes his career as one of only three players in NBA history (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon) to amass 13,000 points (13,364), 9,000 rebounds (9,294), 3,000 assists (3,522) and 1,500 blocked shots (1,630).
A member of the 1988 and 1996 Olympic silver medal-winning Yugoslavian National Teams, the 7’1” center out of Serbia has averaged 11.9 points, 8.3 rebounds 3.1 assists and 1.46 blocks in 1,119 career games.
In addition to his announced retirement, Divac has agreed to a position with the Lakers. In his new capacity, Divac will report directly to Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak on a variety of duties, primarily acting as a liaison and scout in Europe.
“Vlade enjoyed an excellent career in the NBA and was one of the most popular players we’ve had, both with the fans and with team management,” said Kupchak. “His playing style was defined by his wittiness and creativity on the court and we think those talents will benefit him in his new off-court career as well.”