An expert committee from the "Sportske novosti" sports newspaper has resolved the eternal question, who is the best Croatian basketball player in history.
Neven Bertičević, Pino Đerđa, Mirko Novosel, Željko Pavličević, Velimir Perasović, Jasmin Repeša, Petar Skansi, Neven Spahija and Slavko Trninić chose five basketball players each and gave them between one and five points. Expectedly, two names crystalized and the fight for first place was led by Dražen Petrović and Toni Kukoč.
The documentary series "The Last Dance" has recently put Kukoč in the spotlight, but it also reminded many that by coming to the Chicago Bulls he somehow sacrificed his individual achievements by becoming the ultimate sixth player in the NBA and the "third man" of the Bulls, an assistant to Jordan and Pippen, while he could have probably been the main star in every other team at the time.
Both Dražen and Toni had greater success in Europe, at that time being a European in the NBA league was many times more challenging than it is today. Even with that, Petrović was great in his relatively short period in the New Jersey Nets. He was so good that many remember him in conversations about the best NBA league shooter in history, at least as an honorable mention. He did not have time to confirm his greatness to the end and in numbers, he died young.
In the end Dražen with 34 points closely beat Toni (33 points), they were followed by Krešimir Ćosić (26), Dino Rađa (16), Bojan Bogdanović (8), Pino Đerđa (5), Mihovil Nakić (3), Petar Skansi (2), Stojko Vranković (2) and Damir Šolman (1).
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