Chain-smoking NBA player Vlade Divac is still beloved up in the central part of the state. He played six years in Sacramento, stayed out of Chris Webber’s way and by doing so was a key cog in the Kings getting to be the second best team in basketball for a stretch in the late 1990s into 2000.
They love him so much, his number is getting retired there on March 31. Coincidentally, on the same night Webber’s jersey will be retired, so once again Vlade can help out Webber by staying out of the spotlight.
Lakers fans remember Divac from his first six years in the league, when he was the Euro center that helped the Lakers back to the NBA Finals in 1991, only to run into some guy named Jordan on a mission. Still, he averaged 16 points per game for the Lakers in the 1995 season, played hard and earned the love of the fans.
What Lakers fans may love him for most is that he was the centerpiece of the trade with the then Charlotte Hornets for a fresh out of high school kid named Kobe Bryant. Eventually, Bryant and teammates went on the punk Sacramento and keep some good teams from winning an NBA title.
Sacramento has never stopped loving Divac. So his #21 goes up to the rafters.