I might be biased, but there are days that I would argue that Vlade Divac is one of the greatest
centers men of all time. Sure, you can pull stats of any of those other guys and prove me wrong statistically. But hear me out. Divac was a pioneer for the NBA in a handful of ways.
- Vlade was the first Serbian player to ever play in the NBA and probably the greatest player to come from Serbia. He opened the door for guys like Peja Stojakovic, who is one of the best shooters of all time (yeah i said it!). And guys like Vladimir Radmanovic, who had some of the best hair the league has ever seen (Seriously!). And guys like Darko Milicic, who actually won an NBA title (seriously? Yes but he sucks at kickboxing.) and inspired one of my favorite Twitter names.
- The Flop. If you’re anywhere near my age or older, you know that nobody could draw in opponents and referee whistles the way Vlade Divac could. It was like some Jedi mind shit the way opposing teams would get all frustrated with Vlade’s overreacting to any kind of contact. Now the flop is illegal and could get you fined but none of that would have been possible without Vlade.
- He’s a f**king badass! There’s still no proof he smoked cigs at halftime (Grantland has tried) but just look at Vlade. He looks like he could play the villain in the next James Bond movie. Ok, seriously. What makes Vlade a badass is that he has dedicated so much of his time to humanitarian efforts. In fact he’s still hitting long range jumpers better than any big man in the league! All in the name of charity!
Happy birthday, Vlade! Speaking on behalf of Sacramento Kings fans (and hopefully anyone that enjoys incredible basketball), we’re lucky to have seen you pave a new path. Not to mention, he’s worn some dope sneakers over the years.
Nick Engvall is a sneaker enthusiast with over 15 years of experience in the footwear business. He has written for publications such as Complex, Sole Collector, and Sneaker News, helped companies like Eastbay, Finish Line, Foot Locker, StockX, and Stadium Goods better connect with their consumers, has an addiction to burritos and Sour Patch Kids, and owns way too many shoes for his own good.