Divac bids farewell

Sep 24, 2007 - 12:35 PM BELGRADE, Serbia (Ticker) - Serbian basketball legend Vlade Divac officially brought the curtain down on his illustrious career this weekend with a parting wish that his career would be an inspiration to others.

Divac won two FIBA World Championship crowns, at the 1990 tournament in Argentina and twelve years later in Indianapolis, as well as three European Championship titles.

The 39-year-old Divac said goodbye in his home town of Prijepolje, where numerous stars of the sport attended a farewell party which included street basketball tournaments and a giant concert in Belgrade in aid of Divac's charitable foundation.

"My career has shown that an ordinary man from an ordinary town can achieve his dreams," Divac said.

His brilliant career started in 1983 in Sloga Kraljevo but he really made his name at Partizan, where he emerged as one of the best players in Europe.

A move to the NBA and the Los Angeles Lakers followed with Divac spending seven years on the West Coast.

After playing for the Charlotte Hornets (1996-1998) and the Sacramento Kings (1998-2004), Divac returned to the Lakers for his last season, and finished his NBA career as one of most versatile centers in history, averaging 11.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals in 1,134 games.

Together with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon, Divac is one of only three players in NBA history to have amassed 13,000 points (13,364), 9,000 rebounds (9,294), 3,000 assists (3,522) and 1,500 blocks (1,630).

Stars including Aleksandar Djordjevic, Dejan Bodiroga, Predrag Stojakovic, Predrag Danilovic, Zoran Savic and Zarko Paspalj gathered for two-time Olympic sliver medal-winner Divac's farewell.

"There's always a smile when Divac is around," said Djordjevic, a former teammate of Divac at Partizan and the national team. "It was like that when he played, and it is like that even now, when he has gathered all of us to help him in his humanitarian work with homeless Serbian refugees. All of us came here to help him in his final and biggest task."

Among those involved in Divac's humanitarian organization are former NBA teammates Chris Webber, Scot Pollard and Glen Rice, as well as Lithuanian great Sarunas Marcullionis and several famous coaches, including San Antonio's Greg Popovic, Greece's Panagiotis Giannakis and Dusan Ivkovic.

"He was not just a great basketball player," said Webber, who played alongside Divac at Sacramento. "He is the best human being I've ever met - the guy with the biggest heart."

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!