Vlade Divac explains how he felt getting traded from Lakers to Hornets
Vlade Divac is the toast of the basketball world after joining the Hall Of Fame this week. The Serbian big man was an important figure not only for the Lakers and the Kings but also the entire basketball world.
However, his NBA journey wasn’t one that was covered in roses. Once a valued big man at the tail end of the Showtime Lakers era, Divac was shipped off to the Charlotte Hornets during the 1996-97 season. He spent two years there before playing for the Kings.
He told Jason Jones of The Athletic that the trade was one of the most difficult yet worthwhile experiences he had as a basketball player.
“It was a very difficult time for me. Living my dream in Los Angeles and obviously basketball was always a love for me. I played basketball because it was fun and for the love. At that particular time, it was the first time I had to go somewhere I didn’t want to go and play basketball in a different way, not just to have fun. And I felt like I was forced to go to Charlotte so I was thinking about retiring.
And going to Charlotte, it’s easy to say now, but that was probably the best decision. It extended my career and the people of Charlotte supported me so well with good teams and good coaches and it was fun for those two years.”
Divac may have only spent two years as a Hornet, but those years helped him realize the nature of the business and thrive within it. He scored 11.7 points and grabbed 8.6 rebounds every time he suited up for Charlotte.
He may not be remembered as a player dominating in a Hornets uniform, but without those years Divac would never have played with the exhilarating Kings team that almost sent Kobe and Shaq packing. Kings fans should embrace a Charlotte fan and thank them for giving them Divac.