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Stojko Vranković
Position Center
Height 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)
Weight 260 lb (120 kg)
Born January 22, 1964 (1964-01-22) (age 45)
Drniš, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia
Nationality Croatian
Pro career 1986–2001
Former teams KK Zadar (1986–1989)
Aris (1989–1990)
Boston Celtics (1990–1992)
Panathinaikos (1992–1996)
Minnesota Timberwolves (1996–1997)
Los Angeles Clippers (1997–1999)
Fortitudo Bologna (1999–2001)

Stojan "Stojko" Vranković (born January 22, 1964, in Drniš, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia) is a retired Croatian basketball player.

A 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) center, he played 5 seasons (1990–1992; 1996–1999) in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Los Angeles Clippers. He was very popular in Europe while playing for Athens-based Panathinaikos and winning the club's first Euroleague Championship.

Contents

Club career

A renowned shot blocker, he made little impact in the NBA, managing small minutes and a low scoring average. He did however have a major impact in Europe playing for Greek team Panathinaikos. In 1996, he combined with Dominique Wilkins to lead Panathinaikos to a Euroleague Final Four Championship - a first for the club. Vranković's defensive contributions were vital, namely his block of Zeljko Rebraca at the buzzer, in the third game of the quarter-finals against Benetton Treviso, seeing Panathinaikos through. In the final, his block to deny Barcelona the lead in the last second, gave the game a dramatic end, before falling to the ground in the ensuing hustle and clutching his knee in pain on the buzzer.[1]In an interview on the official Final Four website, Panathinaikos captain Panagiotis Giannakis described the incident as follows:

"All that happened at the end of the game is unbelievable, a few seconds that lasted one century! I remember Stojko (Vrankovic) running like...Carl Lewis from one side to the other to stop (José Antonio) Montero. He blocked the layup almost at the buzzer and he sealed the victory."[2]

National team

Medal record
Men’s Basketball
Competitor for  Yugoslavia
Summer Olympics
Silver 1988 Seoul Team
World Championships
Bronze 1986 Spain Yugoslavia
European Championships
Bronze 1987 Greece Yugoslavia
Gold 1989 Yugoslavia Yugoslavia
Competitor for  Croatia
Summer Olympics
Silver 1992 Barcelona Team
World Championships
Bronze 1994 Canada Croatia
European Championships
Bronze 1993 Germany Croatia
Bronze 1995 Greece Croatia

Vranković earned a silver medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics Basketball Tournament with the Yugoslavia national basketball team. But his most memorable moment was in the following 1992 Olympic Games with his then newly-independent Croatia national team, winning silver in the men's final against the American "Dream Team".

Friendship with Dražen Petrović

Vranković was a close friend of fellow basketball player Dražen Petrović. He was a coffin bearer at Petrovic's funeral in 1993 and has been active in commemorating his memory. In an article on the FIBA website concerning the opening of a museum in Dražen's honour, Vranković is quoted:

Drazen's colleague and friend, Stojko Vrankovic, said at the opening of the museum: "I would like to thank all those involved in creating this place, so children would be able to learn more about 'basketball's Amadeus'".[3]

Notes

  1. ^ Video footage of Vranković's last second block of for Panathinaikos in the 1996 Final Four
  2. ^ 1996 Final Four: Victory comes to Greece and the Greens
  3. ^ CRO - Memorial centre for Drazen The Great

External links

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