If you are ever in Zagreb, Croatia, go visit the Muzej Dražen Petrović if you like basketball and good stories about one of Europe's biggest basketball legends. For work I recently had to go to Zagreb and discovered this hidden gem. For those who don't know, Dražen Petrović, was a croatian basketball player, who was the biggest basketball star in Europe, was the first real European star in the NBA and sadly died at age 28 due to a car crash.
After a short walk from the train station you arrive at a square with steps leading to the basketball stadium of KK Cibona Zagreb, with in front of it a four meter high sculpture of Dražen. The museum closes at 17.00 everyday, so when I arrived at 16.45 it was clear it was going to be a rush visit. The young man, who I discovered runs the museum, was the only one still there. He offered to show me around and tell some stories. When he was younger the museum host used to play basketball himself, but decided to go study economy. Now, as the manager of this museum, he has 'his dreamjob, working with his love basketball everyday.'
During the tour he told me several stories about Dražen Petrović. Where he started playing (Sibenka), how he became pro, the best player of Europe (scoring 40 points average), best paid player at Real Madrid and the first star European player in the NBA. You could see the love for this legend!
The museum is full of glass cabinets full of photos, prizes, passports, jerseys and other memoriabilia. How a small museum for a big basketball star should be. But ask for a tour. That's what makes it a truly special experience. When I walked out at 17.30 (half hour after closing time!), he told me to go drink something at coffee bar Amadeus. This bar was a gift to Dražen from his then club Cibona and is still owned by the family. They named it Amadeus, because Dražen's nickname was "The Amadeus Mozart of Basketball".
Special visit, to a special museum dedicated to a special man, run by an especially friendly guy.