Goran Dragic Was Moved to Tears When Drazen Petrovic’s Mother Gave Him A Jersey

Goran Dragic led Slovenia to its first EuroBasket tournament victory with 35 points in the finals against Serbia and earned the tournament’s MVP award. It was a tremendous individual performance that capped off a great tournament for the Heat star, but also was an historic moment for Slovenia’s national team.

Dragic is Slovenia’s biggest star currently in the NBA, and figures to be joined next season by another point guard, young phenom and projected top 5 draft pick in 2018 Luka Doncic. For someone growing up in Slovenia, Croatia, or any of the nations that made up Yugoslavia with dreams of being a basketball player, as Dragic did in the, Drazen Petrovic was a hero.

Petrovic became one of the NBA’s best perimeter shooters with the Nets in the early 90s after spending his first two seasons as a role player in Portland. In New Jersey, Petrovic averaged more than 20 points per game twice in three seasons, shooting better than 44% from three point range in those seasons. Tragically, right as he was reaching Petrovic was killed in the summer of 1993 in a car accident in Germany driving back to Croatia from the EuroBasket competition.

After bringing home the gold for Slovenia in the 2017 EuroBasket competition, Dragic received an incredibly special gift, as Petrovic’s mother gave him one of her son’s Nets jerseys. In an interview with Slovenian media outlet Siol, Dragic was moved to tears while holding the jersey and discussing what it meant to him (as transcribed by Sportando).

“It is one of the most beautiful gifts I’ve ever received in my life” Dragic told Siol. “He was my idol. We all know what he did for Yugoslavia and the basketball world. It was a great honor for me to wear the jersey number three.”

I highly suggest watching the video (you can find it here) as you don’t have to understand what Dragic is saying to feel the emotion of the moment and what it means for him. It’s one of those moments that shows how much sports can mean to people and the inspiration young athletes receive from their idols and how that stays with them even as they become stars themselves.