Drazen Petrovic was a Euro basketball superstar when he jumped to the National Basketball Association in 1989 with the Portland Trail Blazers. He was traded to the New Jersey Nets in his second season and ascended to the heights of the NBA almost immediately. However, his life was tragically cut short when he died on June 7, 1993 in a traffic collision on the rain-soaked Autobahn. Petrovic was just 28 years old.
Last March, Australian author Todd Spehr released his biography entitled Drazen: The Remarkable Life and Legacy of the Mozart of Basketball. In the biography, re-highlighted by the Yahoo! Sports Ball Don't Lie Staff today (Petrovic's birthday), it was noted that Petrovic told the press after a 1993 game against the Cleveland Cavaliers that his career in the NBA was over. "I'm not staying in the NBA. Maybe this is my last game for the Nets." Petrovic angrily declared. He was upset about their management of contract negotiations.
"The Nets took their chance but they waited too long. It's about respect. I can't stand someone saying one thing and doing another. I was ready to sign last summer, in July. They came with an offer in early March. I was waiting seven months. That's too late."
His final statement to NBA writers would be, "I proved everything I had to prove in the NBA." After those words, he left the arena, and would lose his life less than a month later. Petrovic was named as one of the greatest Euro players of all time, and was posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2002.