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Old 09-23-2007, 04:47 PM   #1
bigboi_baller
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Default Vlade's 21 to be retired?

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Ailene Voisin: The right thing to do
Kings should retire Vlade's No. 21
By Ailene Voisin - Bee Columnist
Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, September 23, 2007

There is a huge bash going on in Serbia this weekend to celebrate the career of former Kings center Vlade Divac, but since so few of us could make the trip, I figure the Kings ought to start planning another party right here in Sacramento.

It's been three years. It's time.

Retire the Divac jersey -- that sweaty, megasized No. 21 -- in one of those raise-it-to-the-rafters events before the roof caves in at Arco Arena. Thank Vlade for the exquisite passes, the astonishingly creative low-post moves, the unifying locker room presence, the humble, yet larger-than-life personality. Thank him for being the first elite free agent to sign with the Kings, for embracing the community with such humor and grace, and in essence, for escorting Sacramentans on a wildly entertaining, six-year tour of the globe.

Thank him for the memories.

Thank him for ... everything.

"Vlade just had a way of bringing people together," said Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie, calling from a wedding in France, "and that (retiring his number) is in the pipeline. When we had those great teams, with Chris (Webber), Peja (Stojakovic), Doug (Christie), Vlade was at the center of it all. He was so special. There was never an agenda with him."

Not in the ordinary sense anyway. Divac has always been a communal figure, the antithesis of the solo act, and at 39, he isn't about to change. His celebration this weekend is only partly about ceremonial dinners, the finals of a youth basketball tournament, a children's carnival at the majestic Kalemegdan plaza and an outdoor public concert in the historic downtown square. The other component is the launching of a collaborative campaign to raise $3 million for the purchase and restoration of abandoned homes in Serbia and Ethiopia.

"In Europe, when someone finishes a career," Divac explained the other day from Belgrade, "they organize a big retirement game. I choose to work with the United Nations (Refugee Agency) and the Serbian Refugees Committee to change lives. I just want to use my name to raise awareness, and I asked my friends, who have supported me all these years, to help with this cause."

Few acquaintances can ever resist Vlade. The man is as famous for his generosity as he is for his abundant basketball gifts. As of late Friday, the list of those attending the festivities included Chris Webber, Scot Pollard, Hedo Turkoglu, Peja Stojakovic, Wayne Cooper, Grant Napear and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Croatia's Toni Kukoc and Dino Radja -- one-time national team teammates whose relationship with Divac was strained during the Balkan conflict in the 1990s -- were said to be en route.

Today, selected guests will board a train for Divac's hometown of Prijepolje and the dedication of a museum honoring the national icon and 16-year NBA veteran.

It's all so Vlade, of course. Fans, journalists, teammates, coaches and league officials see him coming and immediately think, What a great guy.

Throughout his international and NBA career, Divac, who re-signed with the Lakers for an ill-fated 15-game finale in 2004-05, achieved the following: preserved friendships with most of his former Croatian and Bosnian teammates during the conflict in the Balkans, though his overtures were repeatedly rebuffed by the late Drazen Petrovic, his best friend since childhood; co-founded the Group 7 Children's Fund; lobbied for education funding in California; and represented the Kings in innumerable community and civic-related ventures.

"And on top of everything else you can say about Vlade," said longtime Kings executive Jerry Reynolds, "he was the best teammate I've seen in professional sports. Chris, Peja, Doug Christie, they all had their best years in Sacramento, and Vlade had a lot to do with that. He had no problem letting others be the stars. Sometimes I think people don't realize just how good he was.

"Other than (Bill) Walton, I can't think of another center who had his feel for the game. He also was a much better defender than he got credit for, and he's so big."

As for Divac's loyalties? Is he a Laker -- and he wore No. 12 in his seven-plus seasons in Los Angeles -- or a King? Hint: Note the number of Serbian cities (21) where the prelims of the youth basketball tournament were held. "The Lakers drafted me, but if you ask me, What is my team? Divac continued, "I have to say 'Kings.' My best years were in Sacramento. I had a special role there. The spirit of Arco ... the fans. ... "

So it's been long enough. It's time. Divac's impact on the franchise and his influence on so many lives around the world can't be overstated. Why wait until Vlade becomes an old man to plan a big bash? Besides, he looks like he could use the boost. During an impromptu appearance at a Monarchs game last month, his complexion was unusually pale, and he had dark, puffy moons under his eyes. Pressed about his health, he revealed he recently had been hospitalized for bleeding ulcers.

"A little stress," the immensely popular former King insisted, with a shrug, "but I have to get this (refugee drive) going. These people need places to live. This is my life now."
http://www.sacbee.com/100/v-print/story/394510.html

At such a uncertain time for a franchise, remembering the "glory days" makes you really appreciate how great Vlade was. He used to be my favorite Kings player. Remembering the way he used to he used to have Peja curl around his screen and set him up with that pin point pass, still gives me chills.

He deserves to have his jersey retired.
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Old 09-23-2007, 06:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Vlade's 21 to be retired?

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Originally Posted by bigboi_baller
http://www.sacbee.com/100/v-print/story/394510.html

At such a uncertain time for a franchise, remembering the "glory days" makes you really appreciate how great Vlade was. He used to be my favorite Kings player. Remembering the way he used to he used to have Peja curl around his screen and set him up with that pin point pass, still gives me chills.

He deserves to have his jersey retired.
cosign

and you know his buddies will be there to support especially if they dnt have any schedule games (for guys who still are in the league) Bobby Hedo webber funderburke Peja u kno the gang
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Old 09-23-2007, 09:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Vlade's 21 to be retired?

I'm not a real Kings fan, but I want to put my 2 cents in here. Why would Divac's number be retired? He was the fourth best player during those championship runs (after Webber, Stojakovic, Bibby/J-Will, and maybe even Christie).
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Old 09-23-2007, 11:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Vlade's 21 to be retired?

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Originally Posted by ForceOfNature
I'm not a real Kings fan, but I want to put my 2 cents in here. Why would Divac's number be retired? He was the fourth best player during those championship runs (after Webber, Stojakovic, Bibby/J-Will, and maybe even Christie).
He was the heart and soul of the team.

The man, single handedly, had the most to do with the Kings rise from the bottom of the league to the top.

He made a big difference in the Sacramento community and the international community.
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Old 09-24-2007, 11:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: Vlade's 21 to be retired?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForceOfNature
I'm not a real Kings fan, but I want to put my 2 cents in here. Why would Divac's number be retired? He was the fourth best player during those championship runs (after Webber, Stojakovic, Bibby/J-Will, and maybe even Christie).
The guy was the BEST center SAC ever had!... Lovable guy. Team caption! He was the one who carried us to the WCF. Offensive Genius. Great community guy...i can go on here
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Old 09-24-2007, 02:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Vlade's 21 to be retired?



I was there when they put #2 up in the rafters, and I'd like to see 21 and 4 go up as well.

Last edited by Showtime : 09-24-2007 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 09-25-2007, 01:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: Vlade's 21 to be retired?

It would be awesome to retire Divac's jersey.
I'd to see Webb's up there one day too.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: Vlade's 21 to be retired?

Definitely, he deserves to have his jersey retired. I remember watching Laker/Sacramento games and he was definitely my favorite player, the only one I didn't hate.
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