22 January 1964 |
Drniš, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia
|Listed height||7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)|
|Listed weight||260 lb (118 kg)|
|NBA draft||1986 / Undrafted|
|1997–2000||Los Angeles Clippers|
|Career highlights and awards|
Stojan "Stojko" Vranković (born 22 January 1964, Drniš, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia) is a retired Croatian professional basketball player, who also represented Croatia internationally. He is currently the president of Croatian Basketball Federation.
A 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) center, he played five 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.
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 Željko Rebrača at the buzzer, in the third game of the quarter-finals against Benetton Treviso, sending Panathinaikos through. In the EuroLeague Finals, 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. 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."
Croatia (after independence)
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 senior Croatian national team.
Vranković was a close friend of fellow Croatian player Dražen Petrović. He was a coffin bearer at Petrović'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'".