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What Michael Jordan said to Drazen Petrovic after the legendary Finals in Barcelona

Drazen's brother Aleksandar shared a story about the interaction between MJ and Petro after the 1992 Olympic Finals

After they won against the Unified Team (a joint team consisting of twelve of the fifteen former Soviet republics that chose to compete together), Toni Kukoč, Dino Rađa, and their teammates celebrated like they won the whole thing. Dražen Petrović was not pleased.

A guy that massacred Jordan in an exhibition game

“He went over to every single player and told them 'No celebrating. We have the Finals ahead of us and we can beat those guys.'”

Aleksandar Petrović, Podcast Inkubator

With the Dream Team waiting, making it to the Finals was as good as winning. Dražen was the only one who wasn’t there to lose and collect the silver medal. For a moment, the Croatian team did make history. A transition dunk and a free throw by Franjo Arapović gave the Croats a 25:23 lead. That was the only time in the entire tournament Team USA was trailing someone. Not only that – it was the only time Chuck Daly called a time-out during the Olympics.

Moments later, Charles Barkley drained a shot, and it was hasta la vista Croatia. After the game, Michael Jordan went over to Dražen Petrović to congratulate him for a great tournament. MJ looked over Petro’s shoulder and saw a familiar face on the Croatian bench. He asked Dražen who that guy was.

“'That's my brother' said Dražen. At that point, I came over, and Jordan told me "You're the guy that massacred me 10 years ago in Zadar. I never forgot that!'”

Aleksandar Petrović, Podcast Inkubator

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Fighting for a spot on the team

Back in 1982, Michael Jordan was a part of Team USA, which at that time consisted of only college players. They came to Croatia, then a member state of Yugoslavia, to play the Yugoslavian National Team in preparation for the World Championship in Columbia.

A 17-year-old Dražen and a 19-year-old Michael played against each other for the first time, but they weren’t matched up. Dražen’s older brother Aleksandar was assigned to guard Jordan, and fighting for a position on the National Team, Aco went 110% from the first whistle.

“I have a young kid in front of me, and I'm trying to secure a spot on the National Team to go to Columbia. I was 23 years old and went out for blood. I can't say what I did to him because it's NSFW, but I physically massacred him.”

Aleksandar Petrović, Podcast Inkubator

Aco managed to secure a spot and went to Columbia, where Yugoslavia won 3rd place. But Michael Jordan never forgot the maniac that beat him up during a random game in Zadar, in front of 3000 people, when he was 19 years old.

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