One of our best athletes is the gentleman in front of you - the Basketball Mozart - Dražen Petrović. Dražen is one of - if not THE - best European basketball players of all time. He was born in Šibenik, a coastal town in Croatia, where he played for the local team. His entry to the big scene happened when he moved to Zagreb, to join Cibona Zagreb basketball club. With Cibona he won two Euroleague championships and was voted four times best player in Europe.
Many of Petrović’s big wins were celebrated right here on this square where the basketball idol would meet with fans and supporters. After Cibona, Petrović moved to Real Madrid and then to the NBA - joining the Portland Trail Blazers. His breakthrough season came with the New Jersey Nets where Petrović established himself as one of the league's top shooting guards.
With the national team, first Yugoslavia and later Croatia, Petrović won both the World and European championships being selected as the MVP of both competitions. He led the team to three medals, two silver, one bronze at the Olympic Games, especially notable playing in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games’ finals against the Dream Team, led by none other than Michael Jordan.
Petrović’s life ended tragically in a car crash in 1993. but his legacy lives on. In 2002. Petrović was inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame confirming his status as one of the all time greats.
Today, this square welcomes Croatian sport heroes and thousands of fans, after every major sporting success. Dražen Petrović isn’t with us anymore, but his statue is here so he never misses another sports celebration again.