Drazen Petrovic's Mother Excited to Celebrate Son's Legacy at Nets vs. Bulls
Biserka Petrovic will be making her first appearance at Barclays Center
BROOKLYN – For Biserka Petrovic, no one will be able to replicate the impact that her son had on the NBA.
“It’s like a moment in history that no one else could repeat something like that,” Petrovic told BrooklynNets.com through a translator last Tuesday. “He was the one and only. His legacy today is for European players, he did a lot [for them].”
She added, “Drazen and a basketball are really connected and he’s a citizen of the world. I’m proud of my son and the Nets. I really appreciate it.”
Biserka Petrovic will be making her first-ever visit to Barclays Center when the Nets host the Bulls. The home side is paying tribute to her son, an icon for the franchise who tragically died in a car accident 25 years ago.
There will be a video showcasing Drazen Petrovic’s legacy and Brooklyn will be giving out STARTING LINEUP ™ Figurines of him to the first 10,000 fans in attendance. In addition, there will be five new Petrovic items in the Swag Shop along with a NBA Jam arcade machine, where fans can play as "Petro" in the classic game. Autographed and game-worn items from Petrovic will also be on display.
Biserka Petrovic hasn’t been to an NBA-related event since her son was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002. The league has dramatically evolved since that time.
When Drazen Petrovic was starring for the then-New Jersey Nets, he was arguably the first European to be considered a leading star for a team. Since then, there’s plenty of players from the continent to lead NBA teams, including Dirk Nowitzki, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Goran Dragic and Kristaps Porzingis. In fact, she’ll be in attendance to see the Bulls’ emerging Euro star in Lauri Markkanen. Biserka Petrovic acknowledges her son’s role as a trailblazer for Europeans to follow in his footsteps.
“Still today, Drazen is a role model for European players,” she said. “The young players need to practice a lot to be as good as him. So they can play in the NBA. The practice is the most important thing.”
Some of the current Nets also paid tribute to Drazen Petrovic’s legacy for the team and the NBA. Head coach Kenny Atkinson played professionally in Europe for just over a decade and remembered hearing about Petrovic’s impressive games with the Nets.
“When I was playing over in Europe, through the grapevine you just heard about his legendary work ethic,” Atkinson said on Friday. “[Just] how insane he was in terms of going back to the gym at two in the morning, how many shots he shot. I didn’t know him, I never worked with him, or was part of a team (with him), but his reputation is like a basketball junkie, ultimate respect, ultimate competitor.”
He added, “I was huge fan. I’m a Europhile, too – I thought that was really cool to prove how guys from over there can, not only be good players, but really make a mark in this league.”
DeMarre Carroll hopes that Monday night’s crowd will be electric as the team celebrates one of its greatest-ever players.
“Hopefully, that night brings a lot of energy for us and it’s definitely a meaningful night,” Carroll said. “Hopefully, we can perform out on the court. It should be great, should be a great night. We can top it off if we can get a win.”
Biserka Petrovic is very thankful of the tribute planned on Monday and she’s happy that people still talk about her son years after his final game in 1993.
“I’m really excited about the game. I’m standing in front of his Nets jersey right now at the [Drazen Petrovic] museum in Croatia. I can’t wait to get there and be in New York, in Brooklyn to watch the game.”