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Two-time Euroleague champ Rebraca retires
Dec 18, 2007
The 17-year career of a European legend ended on Monday when center Zeljko Rebraca of Pamesa Valencia announced his retirement from basketball. Rebraca won the Euroleague title twice, in 1992 with his original club, Partizan Belgrade, and in 2000 with Panathinaikos of Greece, when he was named Final Four MVP. "It was a difficult decision for me because I worked hard this summer, with the intention of playing," Rebraca said in an emotional speech at a press conference in Valencia. "Pamesa gave me the chance to do it, but unfortunately, things didn't turn out right and I spent more time off the court than playing." Rebraca signed over the summer for Pamesa and make his ULEB Cup debut this season, appearing in three games in which he averaged 8.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in under 18 minutes per game. He was not able to play again after that. "I want to thank all my teammmates, who helped me a lot," Rebraca said, "And also the medical staff of the club which have been helping me in all possible aspects, especially Iannis Merichovitis our physical trainer, who was my main pillar these months and is probably devastated by my decision." Before answering questions from the press, Rebraca made his departure official: "At this moment, I retire. I want to thank everyone, also the fans, the president, Johnny Rogers and all the staff for their work invested on me. It was hard for me to see my teammates play from the bench, without having the chance to help." Rebraca left in the middle of a standing ovation from the packed press room.
Rebraca started his career in 1990 with NAP Novi Sad. He soon moved to Partizan Belgrade, where he spent four seasons from 1991 to 1995 taking the Euroleague crown in 1992 and the Yugoslav national league title in 1995. He was then signed by Benetton Treviso, where he spent four more seasons until 1999, taking the Saporta Cup in that last year. It was in 1999 that Rebraca moved to Greece to play with Panathinaikos, where he played a main role in the 2000 Euroleague title won by the Greens, being named Final Four MVP. He also won two Greek League championships with the Greens. In 2001, Rebraca moved to the NBA to play for Detroit, Atlanta and the Los Angeles Clippers until 2007. Rebraca's list of personal achievments also include a World Championship title in 1998, an Olympic silver medal in 1996 and two European championships, in 1995 and 1997, all with Yugoslavia.