Dražen Petrović is universally considered the greatest Croatian basketball player of all time, and one of the greatest non-American NBA players ever. Saying anything to the contrary would be sacrilegious in Croatia – oppose it only if you have full insurance.
But Dražen wasn’t the most talented player of his generation. That title goes to Toni Kukoč. I’m not breaking any news here. Toni was always considered to be the most talented, skilled basketball player. The fact he’s taller than Dražen was doesn’t hurt either. What made Dražen special was the fact he is the closest a white guy ever came to Kobe and MJ when talking about the drive for winning and basketball. Dino Rađa played with both and summed it up beautifully.
Dražen was a killer, always looking to score. Toni was more of a team player, but could also drop 30 on you in a heartbeat. Toni was a better defender, he would rebound more, and was a pass-first guy – Dražen was the complete opposite. Toni was a slightly more complete player.Dino Rađa, Index.hr
Rađa pointed out that any comparison of the two is almost impossible for him, as he is emotional about both of them. Dražen was not only his teammate but the leader of that team. His tragic passing is something no basketball fan ever got over. Toni is more than Dino’s teammate – they grew up together playing for Jugoplastika, one of the greatest basketball teams of the 20th century. But, Rađa did try to be as objective as possible when answering The Question – 1-on-1, Toni vs. Dražen; who wins?
I think Toni would win because of his length, and he was quick enough to contain Dražen going to the rim. Toni has the advantage here.Dino Rađa. Index.hr
Rationally speaking, this is a sound basketball case to make. The only problem is, it’s hard for anyone from Croatia to be rational when it comes to Dražen. His picture is in the dictionary next to “winner.” My mind accepts Rađa’s point, but my heart just says no.