Teresa Galer's Blog

teresa galer

Jan 22

once brothers doc and vintage basketball

By teresa galer
 I finally got to watch the documentary once brother as it was about Portlands first European basketball player and his fellow countryman vlade. I never knew their story and never thought about that war seperating them.  Anyhow it takes me and puts me in perspective of what these "pioneers" (at the time we did not realize it) of European basketball did to break into the nba.  Let me say I know the flip side of European basketball.  To those who do not know this tid bit about my family my brother played for the ducks 81-85 and then spent a year in europe long before the players ever dreamed of coming over here. it was a time when young guys that could not make it in nba got to play pro ball different then it  is today.  So my heart goes out to those going over seas to play as it happned in our family a loved one gone and wondering how they are making it over there and that they are suriviving homesickness and culture shock.  anyhow back to my point it got me to really thinking about how thankful I am these guys who came over opened the door for the guys we have on our team now who are interntaional players.  Yes it was sad that drazen never got play much here but man we were too deep and what the poor guy went thru that I am truly sorry about.  But do you when you have clyde terry and even danny ainge on the team who came later that year.  I say this to guys of any age playing prepare and wait.  I think what we forget with these international players they were huge over in europe and to come over here where it is a different system much bigger it puts them in a hard spot.  not to mention culture shock, language barriers etc.  Most of these players have spent their whole lives playing ball as my brother did...david played from grade school all the way to europe.  it is hard when they have taken that leap to come over here and then find themselves not playing because you have a stacked team.  I cannot fully understand the frustration but I can imagine. One thing I want to say I knew who drazen was I had seen him play for yugoslavia whch was like a great basketball team which sent over quite a few over here to play...I was like wow we get this big star to play here and then we dont get to see him so that was tough for us fans too as we knew his talents were not being put to use.  portland fans are not dumb on basketball we follow other teams and the world.  at least I do...I want to say this as a fan drazen we knew who you were and I can say for myself im sorry you never got to shine for portland...I was very saddened over his death and knew his poor family was going thru hell. let me say i get the sudden loss of a young man I lost my brother in a car accident four months after high school graduation he was 24 so he was a young man like drazen.

It saddened me that two men who grew up together and loved each other had to be torn by war and ethnic seperation and that vlade never got closure from his once freind.  I cannot imagine how tough that was. I sure cried watching this documentary. I recommend anyone who is a basketball fan see this.  It brought back memories of the first europeans over here playing ball.  Makes me love our internationals all the more that are playing it reminded me how tough it is for them and the transition they have to go thru.  I also loved that vlade did get some closure from drazens mum and his brother.  that touched me a lot.  this documentary also took me back in time to a place where I was in that same age as they were and the players I so admired and loved.  It makes me wish for those times again of my youth and I am so blessed to have seen some great players who at the time would be future hall of famers...jerry west, kareem, riles,magic, jordan, etc  I guess you would call me a vintaage basketball fan. I want to preserve the old school as there was some brilliant players back in the day.

a bit of history on me....I grew up in Eugene Oregon a college town where I had the privilege of seeing the pit rock(mac court which is gone now or closed down for basketball) and I had the priviledge of seeing some great ball. my fave era of duck basketball was the early to late 70's under this era called the Kamikazi kids.  They were named that because they played this fearless form of basketball that was high flying fast moving no holds barred basketball and some of the greatest defensive moves I have seen.  all under the tuteledge of this coach from penn state named Dick Harter  who eventually coached in the nba and eventually became a assistant coach for the blazers.  I loved how the pit rocked and how the whole town would get into the basketball a lot like up here when we would be in the time of real rip city.  NO this town yet has yet to get blazermania yet trust me the kids who have not seen it here will hopefully see it.  im talking where businesses have signs hanging beat la or rip city and there is people hoisting banners from buildings and that strangers are talking about our beloved team and people going ape here.  that is what Eugene did back in the day before portland ever won a championship.  Eugene also had great high school basketball during that rise of kamikazi kids was this young highschoo kid who would become a future a celtic and nba player that was danny ainge. I was a grade behind him but I went to private school so I never saw him play live as marist as in two a ball back then it was two and then triple a..anyhow danny ainge was like a god in our town. he played football was great, played great basketball and was a great baseball player. one thing people forget before danny ainge ever played in the nba he played major league baseball for the toronto blue jays yes he was drafted while still in college so in the summer he would play in the majors go back to school and play college ball.  then he became a celtic and later a blazer for two seasons.  anyhow danny was like one of the first oregon natives to really make a huge splash in the nba etc.  at least in my era of memory.  

one thing I can say I love basketball and I have hopes for this team and hope the dreams that were maybe dashed or broken can be fulfilled by battling and playing hard. I remember the 1980 us hockey team that no one though would win anything but they battled and believed(yes i have never wached hockey til then and have not since really) but this team beat a dynasty of hockey players which was the ussr. it is about the likes of beating germany in bobsledding in the olympics rarely done.  so I say to this current team battle, continue to unite and you never know you could be that next miracle on ice but maybe the miracle on the hardwood floor.  anyhthing is possible in sports if you have luck, dertmination and unity...that is why I stand behind this team even stronger they have are battling and they are standing up under tough situaation. if i as a fan can encourage and help i will do my part. I love this team and this group of young men.  they have shown me by their playing that you never give up you keep going when life throws you nasty curve balls.  i have had my own share of curve balls in my life and somehow I find the courage to keep going.

I also say to this end that the documentary once brothers made me think on a lot of things and opened my eyes to some things I was not aware of. ty vlade for sharing and doing that documentary.  it made me cry...


go blazers i love this team!

3 Comments

  1. thanks for sharing this TG. Too bad it didn't work out for Petro here, and I too was saddened by his death. I didn't see the documentary, but I would like to; is it on video or DVD? If so, how can find it?

    by blazerdarren77 on 1/23/2011 10:28 PM
  2. i did a google search and found it on youtube. it is in six parts i posted the link on sat night. that is part of the reason i was not sleeping sat night this hit me very hard. gave me great perspective on our euros and so thankful the first ones paved the way as hard as it was. and the war what it did to those who were once great freinds and teammates. i remember that yugo team they were awesome!

    by teresa galer on 1/24/2011 11:17 PM
  3. here is the link :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hOst_NExGI

    by teresa galer on 1/24/2011 11:19 PM
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