George Karl and Dražen Petrović crossed paths for a short period of time in the late 80s. Karl got the gig as the head coach at Real Madrid just as Dražen was about to fly across the Atlantic to Portland. Petrović went through training camp with Real and then joined the Blazers.
I got him for about 6 – 8 weeks. He was in our training camp and just an unbelievable player. Cocky, confident. Could do everything on the basketball court.George Karl, 1-ON-1 with Basketball Network
When he left, Dražen left Karl an amazing welcoming gift – his red 924 Porsche. Petrović saw no point in getting the car shipped all the way to the states, so he let Karl use it during his time in Madrid. As much as it was his dream car, nothing really mattered to Dražen except winning basketball games, and there’s another story about that red Porsche that proves it.
The Porsche turned into Dražen’s European car. He drove from Madrid back home for the then Yugoslavian National Team training camp. Imagine young Toni Kukoč and Dino Rađa, at that point making enough to provide for their family, and that was about it. Well, whoever wanted to get behind the wheel of a car worth more than their yearly salary, all they had to do was ask.
But that’s not the story. In the early 90s, Dražen was home in the offseason when he realized his car had been stolen. This was the early days of Croatian independence, and there were not many expensive cars around – whoever nicked it knew who the car belonged to.
We called the police, of course, and I was watching Dražen and his reaction. He wasn’t too upset. The war was starting, and saying life was difficult would be an understatement. I think that’s why he didn’t pay much attention to the theft. He even said, “They must’ve needed it when they stole it. Let them have it.”Biserka Petrović (Dražen’s mom), ŠibenikIN
As I mentioned, it wasn’t hard to spot a red 924 Porsche in those times. Dražen and his family got word about the car and where it most likely is, but Petro never did anything about it. There were only two things on Dražen’s mind – basketball and his country.
Anyone who knows anything about Dražen Petrović knows he probably got more upset about a ref missing a call or himself missing a shot.