George Zidek

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

George Zidek
Personal information
Born (1973-08-02) 2 August 1973 (age 48)
Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia
Listed height7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Listed weight250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
High schoolArabska Secondary
CollegeUCLA (1991–1995)
NBA draft1995 / Round: 1 / Pick: 22nd overall
Selected by the Charlotte Hornets
Playing career1995–2005
Number25, 52
Career history
19951997Charlotte Hornets
19971998Denver Nuggets
1998Seattle SuperSonics
2000–2001Real Madrid
2001–2002Alba Berlin
2002–2003Prokom Trefl Sopot
2003–2005ČEZ Nymburk
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points453 (3.4 ppg)
Rebounds286 (2.1 rpg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats at

Jiří "George" Zídek Jr. (born 2 August 1973), is a Czech retired professional basketball player and sports commentator. He played college basketball in the United States for the UCLA Bruins from 1991 to 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[edit]

Zídek was born in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia, now Zlín, 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 European 2nd-tier level 1968–69 season's European Cup Winners' Cup (one of the predecessor league's to today's EuroCup). The Zideks are the first (and as of 2010, the only) father and son ever to reach a EuroLeague Finals game.

College career[edit]

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 to 1995. While in America, he became known as George.[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, and was then followed by Jiří Welsch, who was drafted 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 points per game in his NBA career.

In 1998, he returned to Europe, joining former UCLA teammate Tyus Edney on the roster of the Lithuanian power Žalgiris. His first season back in Europe saw him lift the EuroLeague championship trophy with Žalgiris, which was the first time a Lithuanian team had won the EuroLeague title.[6] He and Edney became the first players to win both an NCAA and a EuroLeague championship.[7] Zidek's European career took him to several other teams before he returned to the Czech Republic, where he helped ČEZ Nymburk to Czech national 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, which was held in Prague.[8] However, due to ongoing health problems, Zídek never returned to the court as a player, and in 2006 he announced his retirement from playing basketball.[6] He subsequently became a sports commentator for the EuroLeague, working for EuroLeague TV.[9]

See also[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" (PDF). UCLA Athletic Department. p. 112. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 March 2011.
  3. ^ "BASKETBALL Jiri Zidek, 17, a 7-foot, 230-pound center from Prague, Czechoslovakia, signed a letter of intent to enroll at UCLA" Seattle Times Friday 10 May 1991
  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 "20 February 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 Jiří Zídek.
  7. ^ "Panathinaikos Takes Title". The New York Times. Associated Press. 3 May 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  8. ^ 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 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."
  9. ^ Stankovic, Vladamir (26 September 2016). "Bob McAdoo: The NBA and European champ". Kos Magazin. Retrieved 22 March 2020.

External links[edit]