George Zidek

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For other people named Jiří Zídek, see Jiří Zídek (disambiguation).
George Zidek
No. 25, 52
Center
Personal information
Born (1973-08-02) August 2, 1973 (age 40)
Gottwaldov, Czech Republic
Nationality Czech
Listed height 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Listed weight 250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
High school Arabska Secondary
College UCLA (1991–1995)
NBA draft 1995 / Round: 1 / Pick: 22nd overall
Selected by the Charlotte Hornets
Pro playing career 1995–2005
Career history
19951997 Charlotte Hornets
1997–1998 Denver Nuggets
1998 Seattle SuperSonics
1998–2000 Žalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania)
2000 Fenerbahçe (Turkey)
2000–2001 Real Madrid (Spain)
2001–2002 ALBA Berlin (Germany)
2002–2003 Asseco Prokom Gdynia (Poland)
2003–2005 ČEZ Basketball Nymburk (Czech Republic)
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 453 (3.4 ppg)
Rebounds 286 (2.1 rpg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Jiří Zídek, Jr., also known as George Zidek (born August 2, 1973), is a Czech retired basketball player and sports commentator. He played college basketball in the United States for the UCLA Bruins from 1991–1995. He then became the first Czech player ever drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA) when he was selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the 1995 NBA draft. He played in the NBA for a total of three seasons and then played professionally in Europe before retiring in 2006.

Early life and college career[edit]

Zídek was born in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia, now Zlin, Czech Republic. His father, Jiří Zídek Sr., was a star for USK Slavia Prague in the 1960s and 1970s, leading them to victory in the 1969 European Cup Winners' Cup (one of the predecessors to today's Eurocup). The Zideks are the first (and as of 2010, the only) father and son ever to reach Euroleague title games.

In 1991 Zídek relocated to the United States to attend the University of California, Los Angeles, where he played on the UCLA Bruins men's basketball team from 1991–1995. While in America, he became known as "George Zidek", including on basketball cards.[1] Zídek was the starting center of UCLA's 1995 NCAA championship team.[2][3]

Professional career[edit]

The 7-foot Zídek was selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the 1995 NBA Draft, with the 22nd overall pick. He was the first Czech player ever drafted by an NBA team, followed by Jiří Welsch in 2002.[4] Zidek spent three seasons in the NBA, playing for the Hornets, the Denver Nuggets[5] and the Seattle SuperSonics, averaging 3.4 ppg in his NBA career.

In 1998, he returned to Europe, joining former UCLA teammate Tyus Edney on Lithuanian power Žalgiris. His first season back in Europe saw him lift the Euroleague championship trophy with Žalgiris, the first time a Lithuanian team won the title. Zidek thus became the first person ever to win both an NCAA and a Euroleague championship.[6]Zidek's European career took him to several other teams before he returned to the Czech Republic, where he helped Nymburk to league titles in 2004 and 2005. He took the 2005-06 season off to recuperate from knee surgery, and served at the end of the season as a Euroleague TV commentator for the Euroleague Final Four, held in Prague.[7] Due to ongoing health problems, he however never returned and in 2006 he announced his retirement. He subsequently became a sports commentator for Euroleague.[6]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Official NBA Register George Puro - 1995- Page 143 " .... that George Zidek is the only first-round draft pick in NBA history whose last name starts with a Z? "
  2. ^ Finney, Ryan (2010). "2010–11 UCLA Men's Basketball Media Guide". UCLA Athletic Department. p. 112. Archived from the original on March 10, 2011. 
  3. ^ Seattle Times Friday May 10 1991 "BASKETBALL Jiri Zidek, 17, a 7-foot, 230-pound center from Prague, Czechoslovakia, signed a letter of intent to enroll at UCLA."
  4. ^ Prague Post: Jiri Welsch in paradise 7 August 2002 "Welsch became only the second Czech player ever drafted by an NBA team. Jiri Zidek, a 7-footer who played for then-National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) champion University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), was picked 22nd by the Charlotte Hornets in 1995. He lasted only three years in the league and now, at 29, plays in Poland. By contrast, Welsch bloomed early."
  5. ^ Hoopshype Bob Bass timeline "February 20 1997 Traded forward Scott Burrell to the Golden State Warriors for Donald Royal; traded center Jiri Zidek and guard Anthony Goldwire to the Denver Nuggets for guard Ricky Pierce."
  6. ^ a b http://www.euroleague.net/features/voices/2010-2011/jiri-zidek
  7. ^ Vladimir Stankovic Jiri Zidek - A Czech legend "The name surely sounds familiar. Jiri Zidek is a colleague; he writes a weekly column during the season on Euroleague.net and works as a color commentator on Euroleague.TV. He is also one of only four men to have won both the NCAA Tournament and the Euroleague championship, with UCLA in 1995 and Zalgiris in 1999, respectively. That Zidek certainly deserves his own blog entry due to his great career. But today I will write about another Jiri Zidek, his father."

External links[edit]