Dino Rađa, transcribed in English as Dino Radja (born April 24, 1967, in Split, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia), is a retired Croatian Basketball player. He was a member of the Jugoplastika team of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which he helped to two European Cup titles. In the United States he is best known for the three and a half seasons spent with the Boston Celtics of the NBA. Dino Rađa is currently the president of his first professional team KK Split.
Rađa began his basketball life in his native town, as a junior at BC Dalvin. From there he went on to BC Split to polish his professional career. He marvelled with Jugoplastika and POP 84 (two most notable sponsorships borne by BC Split), as he and his friend Toni Kukoč led the team to the pinnacle of European club basketball twice in a row (1989 and 1990). Rađa would not stay in Split for a historic three-peat the club achieved, led by Kukoč, the following year, but would instead leave for Italy; although he was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the 1989, in 1990 he signed for Virtus Roma, where he spent the next three years.
Rađa averaged 18.1 points in his first season with Il Messaggero (Virtus Roma enjoyed sponsorship from that popular Roman newspaper at the time). European sports journalists voted him the second best European player that season, shadowed only by his former teammate and friend Kukoč. He improved his scoring average each of the next two seasons with the Roman club, averaging 20.2 and 21.5 points, respectively. In 1992 he led Virtus to a Korać Cup title.
He joined the Celtics in 1993. In his first season Radja averaged 15.1 points and 7.2 rebounds, earning All-NBA Rookie Second Team honors, along with Kukoč, at that time a rookie with the Chicago Bulls. He spent three successful years with the Celtics, averaging 16.7 points and 8.4 rebounds. In 1997 a trade that was to send Radja to the Philadelphia 76ers for Clarence Weatherspoon fell through when he failed his physical on June 24, 1997, which was a likely Catalyst in his decision to leave the U.S..
Return to EuropeEdit
He returned to Europe in 1997, joining Panathinaikos BC. He spent two years there, winning two Greek Championships, but returned in 1999 to his native Croatia, playing for BC Zadar. He left Panathinaikos because of physical encounter with the president son in the locker room after the game. The president son allegedly cursed Dino, but at that time Dino didn't know that person he physical assaulted was son of the club president. The following year he returned to Greece, joining Panathinaikos' long-time rivals, Olympiacos BC, in an unsuccessful attempt to regain the Greek Championship. He returned, once again, to Croatia, joining BC Cibona for the 2001-2002 season. Radja finished his career in 2003, winning the Croatian championship with his first team, BC Split.
Radja was on the Yugoslavian team that won the silver medal in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. He was also a part of golden Yugoslavian teams at the 1987 FIBA Junior World Championship in Bormio, Italy, 1989 1989 in Zagreb, and the 1989 in Rome.
Following the Croatian independence, Radja became an important part of the Croatia, most notably at the Basketball Olympic Games in Barcelona, where Croatia won the silver medal. Radja was also on the Croatian teams that won the bronze at the 1989 in Germany, 1994 World Championship in Toronto and the 1989 in Athens.
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