Seasons

Season G PPG RPG NBA
Title
1989-90 (#12) 82 8.5 6.2
1990-91 82 11.2 8.1
1991-92 36 11.3 6.9
1992-93 82 12.8 8.9
1993-94 79 14.2 10.8
1994-95 80 16 10.4
1995-96 79 12.9 8.6
2004-05 15 2.3 2.1

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Vlade Divac

Center, #12

 

Considered one of the best European-born players in NBA history, the 7-foot-1 center played eight seasons over two stints with the Lakers and was the player who was traded for Kobe Bryant.

After leading the Yugoslavia men's basketball team to the silver medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics, Divac became the Lakers first non-North American draft pick when he was selected 26th overall in the 1989 NBA draft. Despite knowing little English, Divac meshed in well with the Lakers under the tutelage of retired star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and was named to the NBA's all-rookie team.

Divac became a full-time starter at center during his sophomore season after the team traded Orlando Woolridge to Denver. He averaged 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, playing a key role in helping the team reach the 1991 NBA Finals. Divac quickly became a fan favorite with the Forum faithful and made frequent appearances on commercials, sitcoms and late-night talk shows.

Despite his popularity, he also developed a reputation for being a "flopper" by purposely falling to the floor after making contact with a player in order to draw a foul. After an injury-marred 1991-92 campaign, Divac emerged as a reliable scorer and rebounder. He posted some of his best numbers during the 1994-95 season, averaging 16 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game.

But as the team closed in on signing free-agent, All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal in July 1996, the Lakers traded Divac to Charlotte for Bryant, who was drafted by the Hornets a month earlier. Divac played two seasons with Charlotte before signing with Sacramento in 1999.

Back on the West Coast, Divac played six seasons with the Kings at the height of their rivalry with the Lakers. He became a nuisance to his former fans and O'Neal, who publicly criticized Divac's knack for "flopping."

Following O'Neal’s departure to Miami in the 2004 off-season, the Lakers, desperate for a big man to play alongside the inexperienced Chris Mihm, signed Divac. However, back problems limited him to 15 games and he announced his retirement at the end of the season.

Divac, who was elected to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2010, is one of six players in NBA history to record 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists and 1,500 blocked shots in his career. His No. 21 jersey was retired by Sacramento in 2009.

— Austin Knoblauch
Feb. 12, 2011

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