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24.02.2009 · 00:00

Divac new president of Serbian Olympic Committee

Vlade Divac, the glorious Serbian basketball player, was elected the new president of Olympic committee of Serbia today. The voting should have been public but Mr. Ćurković withdrew his candidacy for the president after presenting his programme just before scheduled voting. Divac will be the president of the Olympic Committee of Serbia in next four years. Vlade Divac was born February 3, 1968 in Prijepolje, Serbia. He spent most of his career in the United States' NBA. At 7'1", he played center and was known for his passing skills. Divac was among the first group of European Basketball players to transfer to the NBA in the late 1980s and is one of Euroleague's 50 greatest contributors. He began playing basketball in his home town Prijepolje for the team KK Elan. He began his professional career in Yugoslavia playing for KK Sloga Kraljevo, and was immediately noted for scoring 27 points against mighty Red Star. In summer 1986, he was the top star of the transfer season, signing for BC Partizan Belgrade. In the same year, at the age of 18, he made the debut for the senior Yugoslavia national basketball team in the 1986 FIBA World Championship in Madrid and won bronze. The next year, Divac participated in the team that took the gold at the FIBA Junior World Championship in Bormio, Italy. That event launched the young generation of Yugoslavian basketballers, also featuring stars like Dino Rađa and Toni Kukoč, regarded as likely the best in history. Before the breakup of Yugoslavia, they would also take the titles at EuroBasket 1989 and the 1990 FIBA World Championship in Argentina,where they were led by Dražen Petrović, as well as the EuroBasket 1991 title, with Aleksandar Đorđević at point guard. In 1987, with Divac, Đorđević, Paspalj and Obradović, and Dušan Vujošević at the helm, Partizan had a "dream team", which took the Yugoslavian league title, but failed to reach the Euroleague top the next season, having lost to Maccabi in the semi-finals in Belgian Ghent. Divac had an unusual style for centers of the time: despite the height, he possessed good mobility, had good control of the ball and was a good shooter from distance. On occasion, he would also act as a playmaker. His trademark moves included a midrange shot at the top of the key and flip shots around the rim while facing the complete opposite direction. His quirky moves complemented how he liked playing gags on the field: in the 1989 Eurobasket, he lifted teammate Zoran Radović for a slam dunk. In just 4 professional seasons in Europe, he became the most sought-after tall player in the continent. Drafted into the NBA in 1989 by the Los Angeles Lakers and was the first pick of the Lakers that wasn't American. Divac was also one of the first European players to have an impact on the league. Under the tutorship of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson, he improved his play and adapted to the American style of the game. Despite the fact that he didn't speak any English, he quickly became popular among the teammates and the public for his charm and joviality. In the 1989/90 season, he was selected into the NBA All-Rookie Team. He was traded to the Charlotte Hornets for the draft rights to Kobe Bryant in 1996 and spent two seasons playing there. He signed as a free agent with the Sacramento Kings in 1998 where he would play for six seasons alongside fellow countryman Peja Stojakovic. Along with Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic, Divac revitalized the Sacramento Kings franchise. The Kings rose in the NBA ranks, becoming a perennial playoff contender and later on a championship contender and was at one point the best team in the NBA, leading the league in number of wins in 2001-02. The Kings however, could not get past the Los Angeles Lakers, by whom they were swept in 2001, losing a heartbreaking 7-game series to them in 2002. After the 2003-04 NBA season, he became a free agent. He signed a deal to return to the Lakers and was part of a grand plan to overhaul Laker basketball. The Lakers, following a defeat in the NBA Finals, had traded away or released most of their players, including Shaquille O'Neal, Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Derek Fisher and more; Divac was supposed to fill that void. However, Divac suffered back problems and was unable to play for most of the season, and even when he returned, was only able to play about nine minutes per game, averaging 2.3 points per game and 2.1 rebounds per game in 15 games, he played 8 games early in the season and 7 more in the final month of the season. On 14 July 2005, Divac announced his retirement, ending his sixteen-year basketball career. Vlade Divac won as many as 10 trophies with the National Team: Summer Olympics: Silver 1988 Seoul Yugoslavia, Silver 1996 Atlanta Yugoslavia FIBA World Championship: Bronze 1986 Spain Yugoslavia, Gold 1990 Argentina Yugoslavia, Gold 2002 USA Yugoslavia Eurobasket Bronze 1987 Greece Yugoslavia, Gold 1989 Yugoslavia Yugoslavia, Gold 1991 Italy Yugoslavia, Gold 1995 Greece Yugoslavia, Bronze 1999 France Yugoslavia. Through the evening of his playing career and afterwards, Divac focused on three fields: humanitarian work, sport management and investment, in that order of success. In late 2000, Divac and former teammate Predrag Danilović took over their former club BC Partizan. The club was a launching pad for both of their basketball careers in late 1980s and early 1990s and it was only fitting they'd now play prominent parts in its management. Divac became the club's president while Danilović took the vice-president role. Divac is a proactive humanitarian worker, focusing on aid to children worldwide and refugees in Serbia. Along with six Serbian basketball teammates, Divac established the charity called Group Seven, later renamed to "Divac's Children Foundation". In late 2007, Divac has founded a humanitarian organization, "You Can Too" (Можеш и ти/Možeš i ti in Serbian), bent on assisting the refugees from Kosovo in Serbia. Divac is also a member of 'Hall of Famer' humanitary assistance organization.