Drazen Petrovic could not wait anymore. He was 25 years old and was ready to take the ultimate basketball challenge - the NBA. Drazen left Madrid overnight…he had no time to waist.

Drazen drives to the basket against Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals
Why did I leave Madrid? Europe could not offer me what I wanted. In fact, every night was the same and what else could I have won in Europe? To win another European championship? So what, people would say, OK…you've already won it. Didn’t you win it couple of times before? This is a challenge that I have no right to miss. I don’t know what to except but I know that I can play here…only if there is going to be enough playing time, Drazen said after signing with Portland Trail Blazers.

Portland was not a happy chapter in Drazen’s career. Coach Rick Adelman did not trust Drazen and his basketball abilities. It was a true shock for Drazen who had never faced a playing time problem in his life.

Adelman actually never complained about my work, but he never explained it to me why I wasn’t playing… he had to be aware of my qualities, Drazen tried to explained this no way situation to himself.

Rick Adelman had to be aware of my qualities.
Drazen Petrovic
Drazen finished his rookie year with 7.6 points per game playing mostly at the end of the games where winner was already decided. Even though, he would score 8-10 points in three, four minutes, Rick Adelman had different vision about Drazen’s role in his team - actually, no role.
Eighteen months in Portland was a living hell for Drazen. I think, that he matured a lot those months, his brother Aleksandar said, throughout his career everything was opening up to him. First time that he felt helpless… that was the time when Drazen gained mental toughness.

If Rick Adelman brought Drazen to Portland to force Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter to work harder, then he definitely succeeded. Especially Porter, who played even when he was ill, or hurt.

Porter could barely stand on his legs. He didn’t want Adelman to give me my well deserved chance.
- Drazen Petrovic

Unfairly benched...
Porter knew exactly how good was Drazen and what he can do on the court. It just showed how dangerous was Drazen as a player…even when he was sitting on the bench, Aleksandar noticed.
I don’t know. I don’t know. I cannot alter Adelman’s opinion about me. How do I feel? Great! I am sitting on the bench, nobody asks me nothing. I score a few points on the end of the game… In fact, if I may say, I am the highest paid player in the NBA. I am making millions of dollars for 5 minutes per game…5 minutes per game if Adelman is in the mood and if the score is right.
- Drazen Petrovic

Following year did not bring a better picture for Drazen. He had no time to waist nor patience, and he wanted out of Portland. His pressure on his manager Worren Legarie and newspaper interviews finally got him out of Portland, out of his misery.

I have nothing to say to Adelman any more and vice versa. Eighteen months have passed by, too long. I have to leave to prove how much I am worth. Never in my life did I sit on the bench and I don’t intent to do that in Portland. If I ought to go to the worst team in the NBA, I will! But this time only with playing guarantee, Drazen said it energetically.

In January, Drazen was traded to New Jersey Nets and he left the club where nobody trusted him accept one man…great Clyde Drexler.

I am positive that Drazen will build a great NBA career in New Jersey…players like Drazen always do. He was not lucky here, but with the Nets will be different. He will show that he can play in this league and probably make an All-Star in no time.

Drexler with "Trophy Drazen Petrovic" as an MVP of McDonald's Tournament years after Drazen's death--->

Drazen Petrovic jersey