Once Brothers
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Once Brothers

2010, Sports  -   87 Comments
Ratings: 8.51/10 from 134 users.

Once BrothersDrazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac were two friends who grew up together sharing the common bond of basketball. Together, they lifted the Yugoslavian National team to unimaginable heights.

After conquering Europe, they both went to America where they became the first two foreign players to attain NBA stardom. But with the fall of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day 1991, Yugoslavia split up. A war broke out between Petrovic's Croatia and Divac's Serbia.

Long buried ethnic tensions surfaced. And these two men, once brothers, were now on opposite sides of a deadly civil war. As Petrovic and Divac continued to face each other on the basketball courts of the NBA, no words passed between the two.

Then, on the fateful night of June 7, 1993, Drazen Petrovic was killed in an auto accident. Once Brothers will tell the gripping tale of these two men, how circumstances beyond their control tore apart their friendship, and whether Divac has ever come to terms with the death of a friend before they had a chance to reconcile.

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87 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Petar Petrovski

    This Docu brings tears to my eyes every single time. Yugoslavia was Unified, and now not that it is Divided but the Country`s that were making it are Divided within them selves.

  2. Michael

    I am from Holland and This documentary is 1 of the best, i think The best, i have ever seen!!! It is really terrible what happened between these good friends and great sportsmen. I have seen it now 3 Times and it is really terrible and horrible to See what happened to these great friends. What an impressive story!! I Will give This documentary a 10/10!

    1. Hans

      Michael, I use to live in NL during the war in Yugoslavia and as you I was watching messages cooked in the western media, where we have good and bad boys. The bad boys where Serbs from day one and Croat and Muslims are innocents, doesn't matter who did what.
      The war in SFRJ has been created by US and their "satellites" including our lovely country NL.
      The plan was to split SFRJ on republics . The nationalists in SFRJ just executed that and has been paid for it.

  3. George


    cover yourself in shame for the lopsided hateful garbage you spewed out in the comments.

    "Croatia was attacked, not Serbia" - False.

    Croatia broke off against the constitution of Yugoslavia. Croatia declared Serbs to not be a constitutional part of Croatia anymore and broke off in fault of the constitution. Much in the same way that today in Syria you have "moderate opposition" which is financed from outside, so then Croatian separatists got support for separation with force while the west spun a story of Serbian aggression.

    "The Serbs planed and funded their aggression". - False
    It's Croatia who spent their entire time in Yugo planning and plotting against it. Twice Croatia acted on it, in WWII with Ustashe and in the 90's again. Croatia was never interested in Yugo and wanted to leave from the start, the Serbs had nothing to gain (as they didn't) with a war. Croatia only grew in Yugoslavia, received Dubrovnik (King's present to Croats), Baranja (under Tito) and most of the WWII gains from Italy (which was made with zero input from Croats).

    "textbook Serbian apologetic tactic" by 'Muddying the water" - this is laughable. It's understood that you would prefer for everything to be cartoonishly black and white in the way that Croatia's handlers made it out to be in the 90's. The same ones that now say "Assad bad, moderates peaceful and good". Same handlers, same goal, same type of people they support, and exact same story.

    Croatia profited immensely from it's time in Yugoslavia, to the expense of Serbia. You have your handler's cunningness and brute strength, as well as Serbia's naiveness to thank for the country that you have now - as none of it was of your own accord.

    "Vlade Divac did not consider the consequences of throwing the flag on the floor... for every nation this is an insult"
    First of all that wasn't the Croatian flag at the time, it was the NDH flag that he tore up and threw down. Only after Croatia broke off it retook the Checkered flag as it symbol, which was banned in Yugoslavia after WWII because of the Ustasha connotation.
    So Vlade ACTUALLY tore up a STILL Faschist symbol (even by Croatia's own laws) as the Croat flag today starts with the top left square as red, not white - which is the Ustasha one which is what he threw.
    Also in the doc Vlade said that he would have torn any flag other than the Yugoslav flag at the moment as he didn't see it to be appropriate including a Serbian one.

    Croat spamming happening as expected

    Regarding the Doc - great work. Shows a class of world class talent players that didn't get to play their most important game together. Drazen's premature death is the greatest loss to basketball in the 20th century.

  4. Suada

    Very sad. I was there all the way throughout the war and yes this happened to many of us. We all have lost friendships because of politics. And yes it still hurts. :(

  5. Yugoslavia

    It is sad. I wish the war never happend, stupid politics always ruining things.

    My dad sure is serbian, since he is born in Novi Sad, but his father was bosnian muslim, while his mother was serbian. His grandfathers family and cousins were from Montenegro.

    My father never felt he was serbian, he felt he was Yugoslavian. He grew up in Bosnia and in Serbia, his father worked all over Yugoslavia, in Slovenia and other republics because he served the Yugoslavian army

    Croats, bosnians, serbians, montenegrins, slovenians, macedonians are all the same people. Just having diffrent beliefs and accents. The country would still be here, if the war didnt happen.

    The blame of the war are the nationalists but also the west world who wanted to divide Yugoslavia, because they were jealous of that country.

    My dad never will forget and will always love Yugoslavia, that is why he loves and always cheers for Croatia, slovenia, bosnia, serbia, you know the old republics in any sport. Because it was with Yugoslavia as country he grew up with.

  6. Marion

    I also think it's difficult for people to understand that the scars from World War 11 were still healing in the 80s & 90s. I was brought up by parents who had been deeply effected by the war, this a living memory to me because the consequences of their loss and experience effected my life too. Sensible politicians realised to encourage nationalism at this time would be deadly, indeed it was. If you read accounts of military actions, years removed,the picture is very different from the one presented to us then. The Germans encouraged the Croat independence and the BND had agitated since the 80s. And, the atrocities of the Ustase the Croation Nazi movement (who inflicted such a reign and murder and terror even Hitler thought they were going too far) these memories were still held by parents and grandparents. The Muslims too with the blessing of Haj Amin The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, were collaborators with the Nazis, about One million Serbs were killed. So it was obvious that it was much too early for Nationalism to start raising its provocative flags and alliegance. There was a large Yugoslavian Army that could have been utilised by the Serbs earlier in the conflict, but these were regional battles with long histories in disputed territories. The press also presented this war as good guy bad guy and were manipulated successfully by set ups and uninvestigated reports. This war was a failure of diplomacy, and the expediency of politicians who ignored the lessons of history.

  7. Marion

    How sad, this is were flag waving ends up. I must say The Germans, British and Americans could have stopped this avoidable war. And despite all the western propaganda the Serbs played no more a part in this conflict than the Croats and the Muslims. A pity some of those journalists couldn't have done a better job telling the truth.

    1. Misko

      Marion, You are naïve if you expect these 3 countries to stop war in former Yugoslavia, because they are organizers of such wars for decades.

  8. Boris

    Documentary is great. Divac is good man. Drazen was too, but unfortunately Drazen lived in psychotic and fascist society where it was intolerable to be friend with someone of other nation. No one should be fooled, it was not about flag that Vlade threw to ground, its because he was Serb, and all croats who had friends and relatives among Serbs had to break all relations with them under pressure of that psychosis. Also no one should be fooled that this hate and psychosis was caused by some 'agression' by Serbia on Croatia, as that never even happened. In that war Croats were agressors, fighting with aim to ethnically cleanse Serbs who lived in Croatia. The hate they have for Serbs goes much deeper and longer then this war, they committed horrible crimes over Serbs in ww2, that make Nazis look good and even in world war I. This hate appeared before they even had any official dealings with Serbs, probably under influence of Catholic church and germanic rule, and this hate has been a constant of their politics and definition of themselves and especially their national self. Its a sick society and way of thinking. My aunt is married to Croat, both normal and good people, but they didnt tell their daughter that her mother is Serb until she was 18 years old, cause kid would be 'traumatised'. Thats just sick, completely alien to normal brain, and nothing like that ever existed on Serbian side, even though Serbs suffered incomparably more from Croats then vice versa.

  9. Dado

    This is a pathetic excuse for a documentary telling only one side of the story - Divac version. His ex Croatian friends had a very good reason for ending their "friendship" due to his support of Milosevic regime. The "equal blame" approach that this documentary assigns is historically inaccurate and misleading. It is akin to saying, yes historians say that Nazi's started the second world war, but then historians also say that allies bombed Dresden, so it sounds like everybody is to blame... This is the standard line of Milosevic apologists including Divac. His need to drag Drazen's name trough the mud after calling him his friend is distasteful at best.

  10. John Brown

    I love Vlade Divac. I thank God for sending him and his wife Snežana to Sacramento , CA. They enriched our lives, not only by playing with The Kings but from their being beautiful human beings.

  11. cvn

    Vlade sure does come across as a great guy in the documentary and I actually think he probably is a very nice guy but in the case of the flag incident he shows that no one is perfect. Vlade claims he would have done the same thing even if the supporter who ran in was holding a serbian flag.
    Well dear Vlade as the documentary shows from at the price ceremony of 95 championship, serbian flags were waved and used by many supporters while the country you were still representing was Yugoslavia (although just Serbia and Montenegro). I didnt see you rushing to tear if from their hands. I have not read you commenting or condemning it negatively. Nothing. Someone please send me a link to prove me wrong if I am.
    Furhtermore Vlade and his teammates were holding three fingers in the air a clear Serbian symbol not "Yugoslav".
    My point is, Vlade you are a nationalist but that doesnt make you worse then others. Drazen was a nationalist too, he loved his people and so do you, that is ok. You however are a fake nationalist. You pretend to stand over the nationalism and look down on others. Admit who you are, dont make documentaries on how you are better then the rest. Action speak louder then words, and you took action against croat nationalist and not serbian ones, end of discussion. Stop the bull****.

  12. Roar Petersen

    Croats, serbs, bosnians, whatever. Same language, same people. Only difference is the religion. All did war crimes - some more than others. Obvious for the "outsider", yet they all deny it.

    Sad story, and I don't think he's fake. So why would he be fake? So he could become "accepted" in croatia? No s***. Why would he give a **** about that if he was a serb nationalist?

    *** religion, **** nationalism - once brothers for the win.

  13. James Robert Edwards

    very sad

  14. Hussain Ussaili

    top documentary, in unity there is strength. An innocent group of young men in friendship which is torn apart by a war dividing & bringing a country to it's knees, I wander was the price of 130,000 lives worth it and is the continuation of the war in kosovo worth it. Ask those whom dragged a nation into it. May the people learn & never allow such to be repeated & may we have the courage to stand for justice & speak against injustice weather it effects us or not.

  15. Jug

    @ Boris

    "and NATO bombarded only bridges and infrastructure in serbia"

    Only? Well you are somewhat right but the infrastructure includes civilian infrastructure. They also used depleted uranium, which continues to poison all life in Serbia. But it seems that the US thinks that that was perfectly legal and necessary...

    1. Alma

      This is true.nato bomared for more than 1 day,actually people were killed houses destroyed ,afterwards no apology,compensation....NATO is nr 1 satanic org

    2. Iris

      electricity and water supplies, tv stations, civilian trains, hotels and houses they ran out of military targets in the first week also they did it without permission of the UNSC

  16. Jug

    @ Boris

    "btw, USA never helped croatia, in her war of indenpendence, USA attacked serbia (by NATO) only after serbia attacked Kosovo"

    You need to do some research.
    Start with Operation Deny Flight(1993). Then turn your attention operation storm (1995) and then Operation Deliberate Force(1995). And then i guess you can review the NATO bombing of Serbia (1999).
    These are some of NATO offensives against Serb forces in Croatia, BiH and Serbia that helped the Croat Bosnian forces. They all predate the 1999 bombing campaign...

  17. Jug

    It seems to me that the point of this doc was to be a refreshing look on the war and to have the friendship between Petrovic and Divac serve as a microcosm of what should happen on the larger scale between the two people. And yet there are some who purposefully deter this point and instead head in the opposite direction.
    I find it annoying that there are still many Croats who feel like they are obligated to bring the past out of its shallow grave and fashion the threads of history to their liking. It is interesting that Jade is quick to point out the Serb aggression against Croats in Srpska Krajina in the 90's yet when WWII comes up you say:
    "I agree with your analysis about the second world war here, that saw unspeakable crimes committed by both [C]roats and Serbs"
    Oh? Unspeakable crimes committed by BOTH Croats and Serbs? But when on the topic of the Yugoslav war, Jade takes no interest in talking about any unspeakable crimes committed by Croats, such as what had happened during Operation Storm. It seems just a bit ridiculous to me that Jade would almost deny (or at least deny the importance of) that any crimes were committed against Serbs, including ethnic cleansing. What happened to those Serbs who compromised 12.2% of the 1991 population of Croatia? Why did their population droop to 4.5% after the war? It's not because they were asked nicely to leave.
    I could mention Jasenovac and the number of Serbs killed in that camp in WWII by Croats and i'm sure some people will say that this wasn't as bad as what happened in the 90's, or as bad as what Serbs did later. Those people are the kind of people that i simply cannot stand. People need to realize that wars are not black and white. Most often than not all belligerents are guilty of murder and crimes. Must i remind you that it was called The Wars of Yugoslav Succession not the Massacres of Yugoslav Succession. If it were a massacre then you would be right, but it wasn't. It's time for all sides to admit that they are guilty of crimes and MOVE ON! One last thing, i would like people to realize that even if you believe that Croats suffered more during the 90's it is illogical to see Croats as the only victims during the war. Serbs suffered casualties and crimes as well at the hands of Croats. We need to understand that the only way for all of us to move on and stop the hate is for everyone to apologize and admit to the crimes that each committed (and yes you did commit crimes).
    Serbia already apologized, wtf are you waiting for?

  18. besthyaST

    and chetniks didnt?

  19. Bojan

    Real intelligent answer and mature argument.

    Tell me , who did served Hitler in WW2 ? Croatia ....cover your face with your ears please.

  20. besthyaST

    I feel sorry for the nation whoose name originates from the name SERB=SERVANT

    1. Seljak Veseljak

      "Serb" and "servant" don't have anything in common, don't be stupid.

    2. Alma

      IT doesntoriginate from servant , go and study Some more

  21. besthyaST

    so if the chetniks were nacis how did they rescue 500 American pilots?
    and again Vlade Divac is in the video.........

    sorry but world history and Serbian history are very different...they've turned their biggest defeats into their biggest victories....including the battle at Kosovo Polje!!

    enough said...

  22. doc

    Serbian Expansionism, you croats and yr HRT HDZ propaganda... First of all the priority of the serbs then was to secure bosnia ( a made up state of majority serbian population which u were all too happy to try and split with us till the americans objected). Since all hell was braking loose and slovenia and macedonia left (WITHOUT MUCH INCIDENT COS NO ONE GAVE A DAMN even though slovenia was economically superior). The reason JNA forces attacked croatia was the large population of serbs in the kraijna region of croatia. The croatians latter showed their moral superiority during operation storm which you disgustingly celebrate every year. In serbia now there is not one national monument to anyone killed in the war nor do peoopl feel proud about what happened in srebrenica. But the fact remains that croatians enjoy their myths and are under much more of a false illusion about the war than serbs. Now i dont give a damn whether u hate me or not get over yourself is what i am saying... and the flag divac through was an ustasa flag not croatian flag like there is black flag of the chatniks with the motto and there is flag of republic of serbia simple as that. I always found it funny when croatians claim they were both attacked and then somehow also starting a war of independece (haha) because somehow to croatians yugoslavia= serbia although now every day on hrt2 all u get is partisan films (funny no mention of jasenovac....)

  23. besthyaST

    Divac is an a$$hole,and he will always be that!!!When Croatia national team walked away from the medal giving ceremony, everybody said that was a rude act... but if you watch the video you can see 3 fingers held high even by Vlade... And Croats know what those 3 fingers mean... so don't give me no bullsh*t that he's sorry... thats why the Croats walked away because thats their greeting made by the chetnics.

    I don't believe him for one second and Drazen was right to ignore him to the very end of his life....

    Drazen was a proud Croatian, even though he was a part Serb by his father side!!!! And thats why we respect him so much.

  24. boris

    please don't talk about mentality, just read your history books, and if that is not enough, i invite you to come in serbia and croatia, end just read graffity, news papers and tv in both countries, then it will be perfectly clear for you what is mentality (btw i live in both countries mother is croatian and father is serb, so i know what i am talking about)

  25. boris

    as i mentioned before -poland is to blame for WW2, along with britain... c'mon... and if you want statistics, feel free to compare how many serbians died in comparison to croats and muslims, same thing for refugees... i don't blame serbians, but i do blame serbia... note the difference!

  26. Tmg

    but i'd just like to say, do you know how many serbian ppl died? do you know how many serbian ppl got violently driven from their homes? and i think it is stupid calling them 'serbian' and 'croatian' ppl, like u said, u want to be a HUMAN, nationality doesen't matter. I'm not taking anyones side, because it was completely equally stupid from both, but it is a shame when someone blames all this on someone, it can't be done, everybody were throwing bombs, killing etc, it left marks for both sides. and this documentary shows a lot about 'croatian' mentality, which is still 'on' today, after all these years, and it is a bit sad...

  27. boris

    i agree absolutely, but funny you should mention western capital because there are quite plausible teories, that someone outside yougoslavia wanted that war

    1. Vlatko

      Of course... I don't want to sound as conspiracy nut, but I think the western agenda from the 80's an on was to dissolve Yugoslavia. And the accumulated hate from the past was perfect fit for this scenario.

    2. Alma

      My father Saïd, that SFRJ aka yugoslavia was THE third strongest military country force in europe.iT makes sense that outsider forces want to destroy such country.

  28. boris

    I am serbian btw, but that doesn't matter, because i am HUMAN first, but i'd rather be dolphin... not in Japan, though

  29. boris

    btw, USA never helped croatia, in her war of indenpendence, USA attacked serbia (by NATO) only after serbia attacked Kosovo, and NATO bombarded only bridges and infrastructure in serbia and at the same time ENRON and other USA companies were in serbia with construction plans for building new bridges and stuff, bla bla, you know how that works (see ZEITGEIST)... let us remember, serbia first attacked Slovenia (10 days) then Croatia ( couple of years) then Bosnia (even more years) then Kosovo (even some incidents with Macedonia, i think) so sure thing all those nations are guilty, right??? poland provoked hitler, right? czechoslovakia also? France must be guilty then? or is it nederland? belgium? shame on provocators!

    1. Marek

      If you are on the same side of the kosovar animals, there's something wrong with you...

  30. Tmg

    boris, ur ridiculous too.....u dont know what ur talking about, ur probably croatian as well, so yea....

  31. boris

    dear Vlatko,
    obviously you don't know what you're talking about... croatia had every right to separate from yougoslavia according to agreement between nations after ww2(1945-46) after doing so, croatia was attacked!!! by serbia, and serbia occupied almost half of croatia territory, at the end croatia menaged to free her territory. NEVER!!! was war fought on serbia territory and those are the facts... of course there were some attrocities made by the croatian soldiers (not raping, though, serbs done that alot) but it is THE SAME! like in the ww2 was done by brits, russians, americans etc... i repeat THE SAME thing!!! becaouse it is a simple reaction on horrible things done by serbians at the first place... let that suffice!!!

    1. Vlatko


      No one said that Croatia didn't have the right to separate. I'm saying all that could be resolved peacefully.
      What do you have now? Dozen of weak and poor countries assimilated by the western capital on every level.

  32. Tmg

    @ Jade
    If you think that in this doc, Drazen turned out to be a cold, not loving, caring person, then you 'my friend', are ignorant, and does not know what feelings are all about. And all this talk about Serbs being the Hilters here, and saying how Croatians are this and that, is not doing well for you, because you look ridiculous to everyone, especially to me. I usually don't care to be writing in this kind of 'circumstances', but after i watched this, and started reading comments, I just had to say how ridiculous you sound...
    And this doc, didn't failed in telling Drazen's side of the story, maybe yes in more obvious way like, words, but words are overrated, wouldn't u agree?...
    This is a sad story about friendship, above all, that never had the chance to even say goodbye...

  33. Jade

    It's funy how proponents of the same ideology that killed thousands of people yearning for freedom seek to claim the moral highground.

    Never ceases to amaze.

  34. exile

    You got the point takeone,

    take care and good day to you.

  35. exile

    hey vlatko,

    thanks for doc. I was born in yugoslavia, but i dont have a country anymore other then the ground i m standing on. I m sorry to see that some people are still talking their nationalistic trash after the war, they will never learn, but i understand the pack mentality and what its capable of. Good like to you all, hopefully one day you will see beyond your own narrow horisons.

    1. Iris

      I agree but hey no need to be rude. "it is not in their nature to have those primitive tendencies" it is the result of the systematic brain washing and a feeling, their side of the story is not understood or heard. But hey you would be surprised how easy is to fall for propaganda just ask Germans lol or even better USA ppl in few decades when they or better say if they realize what their politics are doing to them.

  36. TakeOne

    How can anyone talk politics after this documentary??? My god, some people are really sick.

  37. Jade

    Doc, Petrovic's father is of Montenegrin origins and was born in Hercegovina. That he was half Serb is a popular myth in Serbia, not grounded in reality. Drazen did not hate Serbs, he took exception to those who condoned or tried to justify Serbia's expansionist aggression against Croatia.

    That you equate that to hating all Serbs goes a long way to demonstrating the general sentiment amongst Serbs, who did not oust Milosevic because of the unspeakable crimes and aggression against inocent people, but because of an economic crisis and student unrest.

    Rather sad when you look i.

  38. Mirkan

    As far as I know, Drazen Petrovic was not a (half?)Serbian, even if he was it doesn't make any difference, does it ?
    He was born in Croatia, he grew up in Croatia, he lived in Croatia.
    Divac supported Milosevic's regime, so try putting yourself in Drazen's position and imagine how'd you feel if your best friend supports aggression on your family and country ? You wouldn't feel any anger ? Don't be silly.

    This is Divac's side of the story, we'll never know Drazen's. I'm not saying Divac did anything wrong in this doc. He showed it as he sees it and thats exactly what this doc is about - Divac's side of the story.

  39. Doc

    "Divac seems like a nice guy, but perhaps he could have been more honest with his self inspection in this documentary, he could have addressed fully Draz’s take on the issue. He missed his chance, yet again."

    Im not sure what documentary you watched but Divac (along with other people in the doc.) did address Petro's take on the issue. Petro wanted nothing to do with Divac or any other Serb.

    I think what should be mentioned is that Petrovic is half Serbian. His father was a serb who left the family.

    Petrovic naturally has more hatred towards serbs than your avgerage croatian. (if thats even possible)

  40. Doc

    Great doc. The truth was spoken. Jade is a clown.

  41. Jade

    Tomo there is an interesting set of statistics about the situation in Croatia. Remember, Serbs were, at their peak, 12.5% of the total population of Croatia. These figures speak for themselves:

    - at the Croatian ministry of the Interior 113 out of 125 officials were Serbs,
    - at the Foreign office 180 out of 219,
    - at the Presidency of the council 13 out of 13,
    - at the Ministry of Justice 113 out of 136,
    - at the Securities Bank 196 out of 200,
    - at the Court 30 out of 31.
    - Croatia had to keep about sixty thousand Serb gendarmes, police and soldiers.

    When Croatia decides to hold free and democratic elections, of course the Serbian minority will fear that their privelaged status will be compromised and that they will be relegated to a minority in the newly established state (which they are)

    Cue the propaganda war, cue the military engagement, cue the carving up of sovereign Croatian territory. The rest is history.

  42. Jade


    I actually don't disagree with any of that. War is tragic, I've lived through one and saw many things that I will probably take to my grave. When vital interests conflict and violence is seen as a means to end, nobody wins. I agree with your analysis about the second world war here, that saw unspeakable crimes committed by both roats and Serbs, and others. But that conflict was often used by Divac to justify Serbia's aggression in the nineties. Petro took exception to this. That was not covered in this documentary at all.

    My point is this. The war in Croatia was unjust, there was clearly an aggressor and one side was thrust into a conflict for which they were unprepared. We couldn't dream that there would be a war in the late eighties. I have family members who participated, but what were they to do? The Serb army marched through the town center in 1992, they took the base on the outskirts of the town. They set up mortar cannons on the hills and proceeded to lob at least 600 shells onto the civilians in my town. Faced with this situation, I'm pretty sure anyone would take arms to protect their home, family and by extension, their nation.

    Divac seems like a nice guy, but perhaps he could have been more honest with his self inspection in this documentary, he could have addressed fully Draz's take on the issue. He missed his chance, yet again.

  43. Tomo

    Vlatko when you say that every side is equally guilty of that war, you are totally wrong. Look at the history of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia. Serbia would always try to dominate Bosnia and Croatia, in any alliance. They always tried to centralize power in Serbia, put Serbians on higher positions then Croats. It is well known that it was MUCH harder for Croats to improve their careers, because Serbians were on the top and wouldn't let Croats to get close to them. I know that, because I lived through it and I have plenty of examples for it. I wouldn't go as far to say that it was as hard for them as for blacks in America just after they were accepted as equal, but it is similar. Croats and Serbs technically had same rights, but in practice it wasn't like that at all.

  44. WTC7

    @ Jade,

    First of all, thank you for your response.

    But, since you insist talking about history... then, why not.

    Just so some people here do not get the wrong idea about historical facts. Serbs were given refuge in Croatia during the Ottoman times indeed, but they were given refuge by the Hungarian and Austrian kings to settle in what was their vassal province of Croatia, provided they pledged allegiance to their respective empires. And what kind of bidding for independence could Croatia, which until 1918 was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, offer to Serbia, which gained it's independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878 at the Berlin Congress??? Please explain what are you referring to, I would like to learn a new fragment of history of this region.

    There is no need really for being apologetic about the history of any nation, in this case the Serbs. Their doom was that they were spread in large numbers, as the largest ethnic group among the south Slavs, all over the territory of former Yugoslavia and considered their vital interest to be to remain united in one state. Your own words go: "In any war there is political and vital interests to be considered." Is there a need for additional explanations? Some elements of the Croatian society in the WWII thought that the way for gaining statehood after so many centuries was to ally with the Nazis and annihilate other nations they considered a threat. A lot of dirty luggage in the Balkans all over its bloody history...

    But trust me, our debate over history of two insignificant little patches of land on this planet will not change a thing...

    As to the numbers of victims in the 1990s wars, I wouldn't get into it as every single human life lost is a tragedy beyond any possible justification. But please take note that Col. Grujic from the Department of Detained and Missing of the Croatian Ministry of Families, Veterans and Inter-Generational Solidarity says that Croatian casualties are estimated at around 12,000 of whom 6,788 soldiers and 4,508 civilians. Also please take note that Mr Grujic does not make distinction between Croatian nationals of Croat and Serb ethnic origin for political reasons. I will talk no more about that, and I find it despicable that you would allow yourself to venture into such a fraud concerning the numbers of victims...

    I would say that Drazen Petrovic was a patriot (he certainly was a great basketball player!), or better, I understand why he would think that his actions were patriotic. Many people make that error placing the feeling of belonging to an abstract entity such as nation or ethnic group ahead of relationships with real people. One could see a lot of it as former Yugoslavia was falling apart.

    For this same reason, I think you are condemning Divac somewhat unjustly.

  45. Jade


    I respect your opinion, I spent 2 years in a bomb shelter myself and lost 3 close relatives in Croatia in 1991 and 1992. War is wrong anyway you look at it, but blaming the victim and the aggressor equally is revisionism. I can't help but to call a spade a spade. This isn't my subjective opinion, but the facts speak for themselves.


    Krajina means frontier. There are Zagorska Krajina, Kninska Krajina, Imotska Krajina among many others in Croatia. When referring to the illegal, not recognised para state of the 'Republika Srpska Krajina', we're talking about a piece of land with no historical or geographical borders, where 130,000 Croats were ethnically cleansed and where the local rebels, supported by Milosevic and the JNA, established an ethnically pure territory in the hopes of annexing this from Croatia. In 1995 Croatia was within her full right to mount a counter offensive against annexed territories since the Serbian side rejected any peace plan which did not involve them joining the greater Serbia. This ofensive was a stunning victory of unparrallleled precision and organisation. The exodus of the populace was ordered by Martic and his army officials 3 days before the Croatian offensive. As amany as 200 civilians were killed. Contrast this to 8,000 Croatian civilians killed in the same areas 4 years earlier. The facts are a bit difficult for the Serbian apologist.

    The Serbs were given refuge in Croatia during the Ottoman times, we saw what a good 'tampon' they were in Serbia proper (they suffered a stunning defeat and lost their territories, ceased to exist) but because Christianity at the time was much stronger than nationalism, Serbs were welcome to settle in Croatia. The trouble between Serbia and Croatia did not exist until 1918, when the Serbian King had expansionist, nationalist aspirations in the Kingdom of SHS.

    Before this, Croatia and her parliament were the first to support Serbia's bid for independence from the Ottomans.

    In any case, this is absurd. Evil triumphs when good men do nothing. Divac, instead of energitically rejecting the ethnic cleansing, aggression and genocide being committed in his name, silently condoned it. What's more, he tried to justify the unjustifyable. It all boils down to this.

  46. WTC7

    @ vrtgarden,

    My apologies, I posted before I saw yours. Really sorry...

  47. WTC7

    @ Jade,

    Please explain, if you don't mind, what do you mean by "200,000 Serbs are evacuated from ‘krajina’ after the occupying army folds". What do you mean by 'evacuation' (and would you use the same term when describing the Albanian civilians fleeing Kosovo in 1998 - 'cause in both cases the civilians were fleeing the surge of an enemy army), why is Krajina (historically known as Vojna (or Military) Krajina, where the Serbs of the region were used as a tampon towards the advancing Ottoman Empire) written with small initial letter and is under quotation marks, and which is the occupying army you are referring to (in the area populated by Serbs)? Thank you to respond, but without the nationalistic tone please because it upsets my stomach.

    Talking about historical revisionism.... huh

  48. vrtgarden

    ok. please dont answer to this posts cause you will start a debate nobody can handle. i like finding documenatries on this site and this was really good.
    i know how some of this people fell cause i been there. in croatia, minding my own buisnes like you just now. imagine hell brake loose in this very second. imagine you loose everything you have in this second and find yourself in a dark place with no water, food, nothing clean, everybody screming, no hope. no laughter unless you get in that insane state of mind.
    war is bull, forget about it.
    im just happy that it is over

    1. Vlatko

      You're right @vrtgarden. Probably I've crossed the line.

      Again, I apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused with my opinions. Over and out.

  49. WTC7

    I never though I'd watch a documentary from the sports section.... but this was too close to home... It brought a lot of smiles on my face, I remember very well the glorious moments of pride this basketball team honored us all with, but I needed some time after the doc ended to get back to normal and stop the tears... sorry, as a woman, I'm entitled to them. I cannot even say what exactly was it that made me cry, but I guess it's all of it - I cried because of Drazen's untimely death, about the loss of all other lives, about the fact that the two of them didn't have a chance to talk, about how stupid the reasons for this war were...

    I am not in a mood to comment on some of the posts above (which I thought I would do after I watch the doc) because I am absolutely emotionally shaken. Thank you, Vlatko

  50. Jade


    Yea the popular mythology goes a little something like this. Poor muslims could see it coming, Milosevic and Tudjman decided to carve up BiH in 1991 in Karadordevo. Ingenius plan. All they had to do was stage the war in Croatia first. 15,000 dead Croat civilians later, Serbs also attack BiH Croats and shel them mercilessly for years, to make it look legit. Then Croats started their war against the Muslims to get their part of BiH, but ofcourse Croatian soldiers died defending BiH from the Serbs together with Muslims in 1992, and ofcourse the CDO arms and organises the ARBiH in the meantime, and Croatia takes 300,000 muslim refugees in 1992 and 1993, to make it look legit. And in the meantime the Croatian government officially recognises BiH in her borders as an international state, Milosevic does not. Then 200,000 Serbs are evacuated from 'krajina' after the occupying army folds. Just for good measure, so nobody gets suspicious.

    Elaborate plan indeed. Forget that it didn't work and we have brand new cemetaries to prove it, and a federation with Bosniaks in BiH (the Croatian populace of BiH VOTED for independent BiH in her borders with a 97% majority).

    These fables never get old.

  51. niels

    basketball rules!!! politics suck!!!!!!

    great doc.

  52. francois

    @ Jade,

    i personally don't understand this patriot thing. But then again, i've never live in a situation of war. But that does not intellectually excuse your ethnocentric comment.
    Of course you are justified in your point of views, everybody is justified in there point of views. That does not make for a rational statement.
    But i still acknowledge your right too point us your believe for a situation you lived from the inside, or maybe not!!!
    -Are you an american Croat, did you live the war over there?
    And if you did, explain something for me please.
    Tudjman even sat down with Milocevich( the Aggressor, remember???) to carve up Bosnia.
    If being aggress give your peoples the right to aggress other. Then that's a shallow excuse. Just like Israel.
    Why not accept that war turn's ordinary good peoples into crazy monster.
    And that nationalism turn's justifiable mean's into barbaric outcome in war situation.

  53. Jade


    Oh the USA helped us, of course. At first you take issue with placing blame squarely on the shoulders of the aggressor, then when you're exposed and a comparison is made you openly admit it, then you flip back and do some more historical revision. I wonder why? Pathetic indeed.

    1. Vlatko


      "At first you take issue with placing blame squarely on the shoulders of the aggressor, then when you’re exposed and a comparison is made you openly admit it, then you flip back and do some more historical revision."

      The blame is a strange word. You blame others, the others blame you. Depends how and who observes. Objectively, subjectively, with prejudice or without... etc.

      I say everyone involved is guilty. Croats (Catholics), Serbs (Orthodoxes) and Bosnians (Muslims). If you have a hard time understanding this, then probably we should stop here. Pay attention on the words in brackets.

      I don't see how I was exposed nor how I admitted, or what I admitted. At the end I don't have anything to admit. If you have something to admit please do so. We are listening.

      What's up with the "revision". Do you really think you're the only one who knows the truth and nothing but the truth (so help you God). I can easily say that you're the one who is doing "revision", but that is not the point. The point is you're trying to justify your actions in the past with this: "We have less blood on our hands, so we are the good guys".


      P.S. I see that this will cause some venomous debate, (one troll named @NotJade already started the insults - I had to delete him), so I apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused with my opinions. Peace.

  54. Ron

    For the most part Vlatko well said. Jade all wars end up being more or less based on ideologies based on religion and the so called religion being the righteous basis to kill people innocent or military.

    It is about as sick as it gets and shows us how close we still are to the animals of this planet.

    From a proud athiest.

    May this site continue to show things to enlighten people to look beyond what we think is right to actually see....what is right.

  55. Jade

    The Death of Yugoslavia is a great documentary. Highly reccomended to anyone interested in learning about what happened.

    All in all, Drazen was a geniune hero. Forget his shooting percentage and the accelade of the best European player ever, his heart and his soul are legendary. A driven man, a patriot when his country needed him and always active in the Croatian community in New Jersey, always at the Church when he had time.

    He was an ambassador for his nation too, very active in raising awareness for the plight of Croats in their homeland, active in using his fame in order for Croatia to gain recognition. The documentary completely ignores this.

    Divac on the other hand was an idealist who turned a blind eye to the Serbian aggression. Petro did what any of us would have. How do you talk to your friend as your parents are in a bomb shelter being shelled. It was up to Divac to show his humanity then, he missed the chance.

  56. francois

    Wonderful doc, i never tough i could be so touch by a film produced by ESPN.

    I am still crying for god sake, and i'm a 38 year old man. That war, like every stupid war, was so horrible for us in the 90's, nobody understood who was who.

    The croatian seamed legitimate to become independent, but the serbian add the responsibility of keeping the dream of a unified Yugoslavia. But it's much more complicated then that anyway.

    But i believe Divac that he didn't mean to insult croatian with the flag incident. For him it was just a freak nationalist, ruining the fun with politic when they were chearing there victory. And they still believed in a unified country has they all were being all raise to believed under the Tito regime. But he wasn't so innocent has well. They were educated people and knew about their country history.

    Milosev'tc started the shit when he went in Kosovo to support the Serbian minority there, opening the gate of hell to a nationalism may-hem everywhere in the country, and Yougoslavia slowly started exploding for the inside.

    Look at the very informative doc , « The Death of Yugoslavia » on Vlatko site.

  57. Jade

    I'm afraid your idealistic view and historical revisionism is somewhat misplaced Vlatko, with all due respect. In any war there is political and vital interests to be considered. Just like the UK was a participant in WW2, saying that Germany's regime and aspirations are to blame for this conflict isn't wrong. So too laying blame on the Serbian expansionist regime is right.

    Looking forward to the future does not entail historical revisionism.

    1. Vlatko


      I’m afraid your idealistic view and historical revisionism is somewhat misplaced Vlatko, with all due respect.

      I was not revisioning anything. Just stating the obvious.

      So you justify the bloodshed you've caused and thousands of people you've displaced (I'm not saying the other side didn't do the same) with a simple comparison with UK in WW2. Pathetic.

      The blame and blood is on your hands too. You simply can't evade that no matter what you say. The Serbs wanted expansion and they where aggressor at first, but when USA helped you, your troops became dogs of war. Raping, mass killing, mass deportations and so on... you can't really brag with that, but you're trying to. I simply can't imagine why?

      Clinging on to past (especially bloody past) will just slow down your progress. It can't do any good.

  58. Paul

    Good Doc
    I love the 30 for 30 docs.
    Post more of them if you can.

  59. Jade

    Divac was on TV and in papers numerous times during the 90ies justifying Serbia's aggression as an answer to alleged crimes committed by Croats some 50 years earlier.

    Dražen saw his city shelled, his nation ethnically cleansed and a country under occupation from the aggressor. Divac not only condoned it, but justified it many a time.

  60. Jade

    The Croatian Red White chessboard appeared in the 11th century for the first time, it was part of Zvonimir's royal crest, the Austrian Nobility crests, Austro-Hungarian Royalty crests, the emblem of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the official flag of the Banat of Croatia, the Independent State of Croatia and later the Socialist Republic of Croatia under Tito.

    Calling it a Nazi flag because of a 4 year period where a puppet government used it as their flag is a tad rich. Especially given that it's 900 years old. Don't you think?

    1. Vlatko

      @Jade you're obviously trying to justify your side of the story. That war was a total mess in which three sides where involved: Croats (Catholic Christians), Serbs (Orthodox Christians) and Bosnians (Muslims) and every one of them is guilty as much as the others. You wiped out cities and villages, they did it too, or the other way around.

      Almost every war is money-making machine masked under national and religious hatred. That war was prepared, influenced, sparked and supported by an outside element all the time. Yugoslavia could have stayed as strong federation (United States of Yugoslavia). Each country with a separate legal system, language and almost everything else, except money and the military. But who needs one powerful player between the west and east. And they used common people like you to justify the need of braking apart the country.

      So instead of accusing each other who started out and who spelled more blood, you should look forward in the future.

  61. Pigeon X


    Emblem on croatian flag is red-white chess board. It first appeared in 1848 but four years later any national symbols across Habsbourg monarchy were abolished. Again it was used during WW2 by pro-nazi puppet government established on parts of Yugoslavia, wich killed a lot of serbians on ocupied territories.
    That is the reason why most of Serbians will say that Croatian flag iz Nazi.

  62. Jade

    Divac was on CNN in September to promote this documentary, he once again called the Croatian flag 'Nazi'.

  63. Jade

    This documentary failed to give us Dražen's side of the story. He was made out to be a cold, calculating robot who ended a deep friendship because of nationality. His feelings were not represented at all. It seems as if there was no reason to blame Vlade for a war everyone was responsible for in any case. This wasn't the case. The responsibility rested squarely on the shoulders of the aggressor, and the aggressor's supporters. Croatia was attacked, not Serbia. The Serbs planed and funded their aggression, not the Croats. Showing the Croatian army marching in 1994 when the timeline is at 1991 is misleading. Showing the Vukovar exodus without explaining which army devasted the city and for what purpose is another glaring omission.

    To the layman it seems that the mess in Croatia is everyone's fault, so all were victims and all were to blame. They got some professor to admit that Serbia faced sanctions, but the story wasn't so simple...

    Muddying the water and equalling the blame between victim and aggressor is a textbook Serbian apologist tactic. This part of the film could have just as well come from the likes of Savo Strbac.

    Most of the audience will come away thinking Drazen had no basis for his strong emotions.

    Drazen was a patriot and an ambassador. Divac keeps mentioning 'the war back home'. Whose home Vlade? Last time I checked, it wasn't Croatian soldiers ethnically cleansing Serbian villages and shelling hospitals. I wonder if Divac would mourn for his lost brother had Prijepolje been razed to the ground by Croatian paramilitaries, while Drazen silently condoned.

    Evil triumphs when good men do nothing. Divac had the chance to make amends by speaking out against Milosevic's war machine in Croatia. He didn't.

  64. dan26

    Dražen the greatest player of all time. It`s because i am a Croat. :D

    Yugoslavia would win against the dream team in 92 if there were no war...... That is not because i am a Croat.

    I hated Divac in that time, but now when i see his story i feel sad and understand how powerful the feelings where in the war.
    I cant`t say about others but i forgive Divac.

  65. Imightberiding

    Thank you Vlatko....

  66. Tanya Radic

    I am American but I am married to one from their kind. Americans cannot understand the love and connection that friends and family have there.

    We are at a loss as we can never understand their loss.

  67. Mars

    War and nationalistic pride are society's downfall. I'm afraid Petrovic is also to blame for the split.

  68. esmuziq

    i say it again this docu silenced me for a few moments

  69. Mirkan

    I'm from Croatia and I heard on sports program about this doc being made, few months ago.
    Its a shame Drazen Petrovic died in a car accident, he could have been one of few very best players in NBA of all times.
    War is the worst thing that can happen to young guys like they were back then..
    Toni Kukoc said one sentence in this doc which explains pretty well the situation they faced; its hard to avoid the talk about family, homeland and ... the war, especially when one side is attacking other.
    Vlade Divac did not consider the consequences of throwing the flag on the floor, which is understandable because he was too young, but for every nation thats an insult, anywhere in the world. So he basically put himself in that awkward position when the war was about to begin.
    Serbian media praised him for that act and Croatian media disapproved.
    The world lost one great basketball player and Divac lost the chance to talk to him ever again :(
    Anyway, thx Vlatko, I was really curious to see this doc.

  70. Mj Gilead

    When kith and kin are estranged, we should blame ourselves for allowing things like race, language and religion to divide us. Those things cannot tear us asunder without our permission.

  71. regino g. ong

    Nov. 25, 2010

    What a tragedy when politics, race, and religion destroy friendship. I think, perhaps naively, that if friendship alone were left to exist among men in this world with all the other three relegated to the dustbins of history, we'd all live as one big family on this one big home we call earth. After all, we really are truly brothers. Our genes don't lie, and friendship among brothers is the only thing that should never die, could never die. I long to see the day when politics, race, and religion will simply be looked upon by the entire human race as a variety of choices among the things we have in this world, just as we all accept the variety of flowers, and animals, and games we all enjoy together. Funny how aliens from a distant planet with the capacity of looking at all our warring ways on this one small blue jewel of ours fighting each other and destroying ourselves and our planet together. Pretty much the same scene we see when infighting among the members of our neighbor ends up with a burned home and a dead family.

  72. esmuziq

    sweet docu
    sad ending