Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ESPN 30 for 30: Once Brothers

I am an unabashed fan of Vlade Divac. I enjoyed immensely watching him play basketball for the Sacramento Kings for 6 years. Once Brothers is the twenty-fifth film in ESPN's 30 for 30 series. The documentary tells the story of the relationship between Dražen Petrović and Vlade.

From 1986 to 1990, Petrović and Divac played together on a very good Yugoslavian National Basketball team. They were roommates and became best friends. The team included several other future NBA players, including Toni Kukoč.

Both players joined the NBA in 1989: Petrović with Portland and Divac with the Lakers. They initially remained close; talking to each other often on the phone.

With the fall of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia split up. A war broke out between Petrović's Croatia and Divac's Serbia. These two men, once brothers, were now on opposite sides of a deadly civil war. When Divac became embroiled in a Croatian flag controversy at the 1990 World Championships, he became a pariah to the Croatians, including his best friend Petrović.

Narrated by Divac, I enjoyed this film a great deal. It includes some great footage of the Yugoslavia National Team playing as well as highlights of Petrović playing in the NBA. At an hour and a half, it is longer than most of the other 30 for 30 documentaries, but it did not drag. I will eventually rank all of the 30 for 30s, but this film will be in my top ten, maybe higher...

The film is available on Amazon.

Once Brothers in October is also available on iTunes.

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