Stojko Vranković

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Center
Personal information
Born (1964-01-22) January 22, 1964 (age 50)
Drniš, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia
Nationality Croatian
Listed height 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)
Listed weight 260 lb (118 kg)
Career information
Pro career 1982–2001
Career history
1982–1989 KK Zadar
1989–1990 Aris
1990–1992 Boston Celtics
1992–1996 Panathinaikos
1996–1997 Minnesota Timberwolves
1997–1999 Los Angeles Clippers
1999–2001 Fortitudo Bologna

Stojan "Stojko" Vranković (born January 22, 1964, in Drniš, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia) is a retired Croatian professional basketball player, who also represented Yugoslavia internationally.

A 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) center, he played 5 seasons (1990–1992; 1996–1999) in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Los Angeles Clippers. He was very popular in Europe, while playing for the Athens-based club Panathinaikos, with whom he won the club's first Euroleague championship.

Club career[edit]

A renowned shot blocker, Vranković made little impact in the NBA, managing small minutes and a low scoring average even though he started 73 out of 170 games played. He did however have a major impact in Europe playing for the Greek League team Panathinaikos. In 1996, he combined with Dominique Wilkins to lead Panathinaikos to a Euroleague championship - a first for the club. Vranković's defensive contribution was vital, namely his block of Zeljko Rebraca at the buzzer, in the third game of the quarter-finals against Benetton Treviso, sending Panathinaikos through. In the Euroleague Final, his block to deny Barcelona the lead in the last second, gave the game a dramatic end, before falling to the ground in the ensuing hustle and clutching his knee in pain at the buzzer.[1] In an interview at the official Euroleague Final Four website, Panathinaikos captain Panagiotis Giannakis described the incident as follows:

"All that happened at the end of the game is unbelievable, a few seconds that lasted one century! I remember Stojko (Vrankovic) running like...Carl Lewis from one side to the other to stop (José Antonio) Montero. He blocked the layup almost at the buzzer and he sealed the victory."[2]

National team[edit]

Vranković earned a silver medal at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympic Games with the Yugoslavian national basketball team. At the following 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympic Games, he got the silver medal after the men's final against the American "Dream Team", while playing for the Croatian national team.

Friendship with Dražen Petrović[edit]

Vranković was a close friend of fellow professional basketball player Dražen Petrović. He was a coffin bearer at Petrovic's funeral in 1993, and has been active in commemorating his memory. In an article at the FIBA website concerning the opening of a museum in Dražen's honour, Vranković was quoted as saying:

"I would like to thank all those involved in creating this place, so children would be able to learn more about 'basketball's Amadeus'".[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Video footage of Vranković's last second block of for Panathinaikos in the 1996 Final Four
  2. ^ 1996 Final Four: Victory comes to Greece and the Greens
  3. ^ CRO - Memorial centre for Drazen The Great

External links[edit]