Drazen: Once Vlades brother

Drazen: Once Vlade's brother

An intriguing, albeit unsubstantiated, rumor hit the English-language bit of the internet today. Apparently, ESPN’s much-touted “30 for 30” series, in which independent directors create from start to finish a short documentary on a sports subject, will be taking on a film entitled “Jednom braća” (“Once Brothers”).

“Once Brothers” is a documentary film about the Team Yugoslavia squads of 1988-1991, dream teams that include a roster filled with names like Vlade Divac, Drazen Petrovic, Toni Kukoc, Dino Radja, Žarko Paspalj, Predrag Danilović, Stojan Vranković, Jure Zdovc, Zoran Čutura, Zdravko Radulović, Zoran Radović, Zoran Savić and Aleksandar Đorđević.

Focus of the story, like the best of the “30 for 30” series thus far, is a human element: When the former Yugoslavia fell into chaos thanks to a bloody civil war, the team’s cornerstones, namely Divac and Petrovic, “stopped talking [...]and the nationalistic rhetorics in both countries must have influenced them, just like many other friends and colleagues at the time, even family members.”

A piece in Blic online noted that, though Divac had “managed to set things straight with former teammates, Croatians Toni Kukoc and Dino Radja, he was too late to make peace with Drazen.” Divac went on to state that, “Drazen and I were very close teammates in the national team of the former Yugoslavia and we entered the NBA league together in 1989. Our lives took different directions when the war started and we never had time to meet and solve our disagreements.”

Michael Tolajian is reportedly the film’s director; Tolajian has worked in projects involving golf, the World Series of Poker, and at least two basketball documentary subjects: “The Year of the Yao” and “Whatever Happened to Michael Ray?”

Said Tolajian on “Jednom braća” and the film’s original intent: “We are shooting a film about a friendship interrupted by war and what can be learned from it. Until one moment they were close like brothers and then the state where we belonged fell apart, as well as their friendship which was impossible to save under these circumstances. Because of Drazen’s death, the tragedy grew far greater because Vlade never had a chance to settle some things, which he managed to settle with Kukoc and Radja.”

All in all, “Jednom braća” has the makings of a great film and another strong entry into the quite interesting “30 for 30” series.


Apart from the Serbia-based reports, there appears to be no confirmation from ESPN or the “30 for 30” production team. Though the “30 for 30” schedule is staggered, with films to appear intermittently seemingly throughout 2010 and into 2011, no slot has been filled with Tolajian and Divac’s film. The schedule accounts for 32 (!) films, 29 of which have been accounted for with three “to be named later.”

Do Blic and Divac know more than the rest of us? Does anyone out there have any information on this production?

BiE has an inquiry in to the “30 for 30” people, you can be sure…

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