ANKARA

Croatia on Sunday marked the 27th anniversary of the death of basketball star Drazen Petrovic, who was tragically killed in a car accident in Germany after returning from a game in Poland the previous day.

“27 years without Drazen Petrovic,” Real Madrid said on Twitter in paying tribute to their former guard.

The Spanish powerhouse also posted a video of Petrovic from his Real Madrid days.

“It’s been 27 years since we lost the Mozart of Basketball,” tweeted FIBA EuroBasket, the European Basketball Championship.

EuroBasket played Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s famous Sonata No. 13 in the background of its Petrovic video.

“Drazen became known as the Croatian Mozart, a title he earned by turning basketball into an art form,” the Drazen Petrovic Memorial Center in Zagreb said on its website.

A former teammate of his, KK Cibona, remembered him on Sunday as well.

The Croatian team said on its website that the club’s representatives — including President Mladen Busic — placed a wreath on Petrovic’s grave in Zagreb and lit candles.

Petrovic’s mother, Biserka, also attended the ceremony.

“Today we proudly remember first of all the great man and then the top athlete in Croatia, Europe and the world. The basketball club Cibona, the city of Zagreb and the Republic of Croatia will forever remember Drazen,” Busic said, adding he will live forever.

“Thank you people for the love. Drazen’s biggest medal is the love of the people. That is why pride comes first now, and we keep sadness to ourselves,” Biserka said about her son.

– Petrovic’s career

Born in 1964, the Croatian shooting guard was active from 1979 until his death in 1993.

After playing for Croatia’s KK Sibenik and KK Cibona clubs, he joined Real Madrid in 1988, his first overseas experience.

NBA franchise the Portland Trail Blazers signed Petrovic in 1989.

The two-time EuroLeague champion later moved to another NBA team, the New Jersey Nets. He played for the Eastern Conference franchise from 1991 to 1993.

After his death, the Nets retired his No. 3 jersey.

Petrovic was killed in an automobile accident in Germany on June 7, 1993. He was 28.

He was one of the greatest players of all time, pioneering the influx of European players into the NBA.

The Croatian star was known for his shooting ability, passing skills and spectacular layups.

Before the Croatian national team, he represented Yugoslavia.

Petrovic won a bronze medal in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and a silver medal in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

He was a European champion with his nation at the 1989 EuroBasket.

Petrovic also bagged a gold medal with Yugoslavia in the 1990 FIBA World Championship.

Then he preferred to play for Croatia, leading the team to a silver medal in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

– Documentary

A 2010 documentary, “Once Brothers,” told of the close friendship between Petrovic and Serbian center Vlade Divac.

The pair played for the same national team, Yugoslavia, between 1986-1990 and were close friends at the time.

However, the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s harmed their friendship.

Petrovic chose Croatia while Divac went on to play for Yugoslavia as the old friends became opposing sides.

The narrator of the documentary is Divac, a former player for the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings.

‘Once Brothers’ narrates the sad story of how politics tore apart a successful Yugoslavian national team as well as friendships.

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