Review: Once Brothers (2010) - A Heartbreaking Story of Friendship and War
Once Brothers is a 2010 sports documentary film written and directed by Michael Tolajian. It was co-produced by ESPN and NBA Entertainment for ESPN's 30 for 30 series. The film chronicles the relationship of two basketball players from SFR Yugoslavia â Vlade Divac (Serbia) and DraÅen PetroviÄ (Croatia). The duo played together on the Yugoslavia national basketball team from 1986 to 1990 and were at one time close friends, but the Yugoslav Wars drove them apart emotionally, as they came from opposing sides. PetroviÄ died in an automobile accident in 1993 before the two could reconcile; much of film focuses on Divac's regret that they were never able to resolve their differences.[^1^]
The film features interviews with Divac, PetroviÄ's family and friends, former teammates and coaches, NBA legends, and journalists. It also includes archival footage of their basketball careers, their childhoods, and the political turmoil that engulfed their homeland. The film is narrated by Divac himself, who retraces his steps from Serbia to Croatia, where he visits PetroviÄ's grave and meets his mother for the first time since his death.
Once Brothers is a powerful and poignant film that explores the themes of friendship, loyalty, identity, and loss. It shows how sports can bring people together, but also how politics can tear them apart. It also pays tribute to PetroviÄ, who was one of the greatest European players of all time and a pioneer for international players in the NBA. He was known for his passion, skill, and competitiveness, but also for his charisma and humor. He was beloved by fans and respected by opponents.
The film is not only a must-watch for basketball fans, but also for anyone who wants to learn more about the history and culture of the former Yugoslavia. It is a moving and emotional story that will make you laugh, cry, and think. It is one of the best documentaries in the 30 for 30 series and one of the most memorable sports films ever made.
Once Brothers is available to watch online on ESPN's website[^3^] or on various streaming platforms.
The film reveals how Divac and PetroviÄ became friends in their teenage years, when they were both rising stars in the Yugoslav basketball scene. They shared a love for the game and a desire to play in the NBA, where they faced many challenges and obstacles as foreign players. They also enjoyed each other's company and humor, often joking and teasing each other.
However, their friendship was tested by the events that unfolded in their homeland, where ethnic tensions erupted into violence and war. Divac, as a Serb, was seen as an enemy by many Croatians, including some of his former teammates. PetroviÄ, as a Croatian, felt a strong sense of patriotism and loyalty to his people. He also resented Divac for his controversial gesture with the Croatian flag, which he considered disrespectful and insulting.
The film shows how Divac tried to reach out to PetroviÄ several times, but was met with silence or hostility. He hoped that they could talk face to face and clear the air, but that opportunity never came. PetroviÄ died in a car crash in Germany on June 7, 1993, at the age of 28. He was on his way back from Poland, where he had played in a qualifying tournament for the 1993 European Championship. Divac was devastated by the news and regretted that he never got to say goodbye or apologize to his friend. 061ffe29dd