That relationship, and the breakup of one of Europe's great amateur basketball squads (Yugoslavia took silver at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and
"This was one of the best teams in Europe ever," said Divac, now the president of the Serbian Olympic committee. "Europe was so proud of this team, especially people from Yugoslavia. The Civil War that happened destroyed everything. People in Yugoslavia talk about that team with sadness."
The film offers footage of a young Petrovic -- whose star was soaring after he averaged 22.3 points for the Nets in 1992-93 -- and features interviews with Yugoslavian teammates
Last February, Divac, writer-director
"The highlight of my journey was meeting with Drazen's mother and brother,
"I look back, 19 years later, and I now understand what kind of situation Toni and Drazen were in when they made their decision to ignore me," Divac said. "They had pressure back home from the war."
The documentary explains some of the politics behind the centuries-old conflict between Serbia and Croatia, but it is not a political film.
"It's for ESPN and not the History Channel, and we are by no means experts on that war," Tolajian said. "That war was extremely complex and complicated. We just wanted to show that lives were lost on all sides. We didn't point fingers or blame. We wanted to show this was a serious conflict and enough to tear apart these friendly."
Divac says he hopes the film will showcase Petrovic's greatness to young fans who never saw him play.
Let's be blunt:
The new national voice is
Johnson is the opposite of Caray -- an understated voice with an instinct to defer to his analysts. Whether he is the right person for the job, viewers will decide soon enough. Executives at Turner insist that Johnson was not chosen as an anti-Caray, but he is indeed that.
"We started the decision process last December and our goal was to get a national broadcaster," Turner Sports executive producer
There's no doubt that viewers think of Johnson as a national broadcaster when it comes to his studio work -- he's one of the best in sports broadcasting in that role. But there are plenty of baseball fans who have never heard him call a game and it's a fair for viewers to question why they should invest in him as a play-by-play announcer. His performance calling Wednesday's opening game of the Yankees-Twins series drew an avalanche of criticism on Twitter, including
The truth is Johnson will never be graded under a harder curve than he is now because outlets that broadcast baseball during the postseason are judged by fans against their local broadcasters, who have logged the ups and downs for the marathon of 162 games. The one constant criticism heard from viewers every October is that a particular national broadcaster, be it Johnson, Fox's
"Ernie even said that people know him as a [NBA studio host]," Behnke said. "But there are guys that just get in broadcasting. ... Either you are a great broadcaster or you are not and we feel Ernie is. We think the viewers that hear Ernie work will leave the broadcast going, 'Man, that guy did his job.' "
Johnson said he learned of the assignment shortly after Labor Day. He called 30 Braves game this year and a handful of national games for TBS. "I had no real expectation," Johnson said. "I was perfectly content if the postseason came along and I was back in the studio with
Like Caray, Johnson is the son of a broadcaster and grew up around baseball.
"I can't get into what the thinking was by the folks at Turner into putting me in this position," Johnson said. "All I can speak to is my approach to my work. I go back to tagging along with my dad to the ballpark as a kid and watching him do Braves games. His outlook was always, 'The game is thing. The announcer is not the story.' It was never, 'This is Ernie Johnson doing baseball. It was, 'This is Braves baseball and I am lucky enough to be the guy calling the game.'
"I've felt that way throughout all my years at Turner," Johnson continued. "It's all about knowing your role. On the basketball show, my role is about getting
Four years ago,
Asked how long he would like this new gig, Johnson said: "For me to look ahead that far is to be very presumptuous. I've always told the folks at Turner that I would do whatever they wanted me to do."
Though he would not put any specific years on it, Behnke said that he sees Johnson as the "long-term" baseball broadcaster for TBS. "We have the package for another four years," Behnke said. "I'm not going to say someone will do a job for this many years, but we went into this knowing that we wanted to make a decision for the long term."
Over the past year, actor
"I wanted to see what the vibe was like in the control room," said Duhamel, whose athletic credentials include playing quarterback for the NAIA school Minot State University in Minot, N.D., in the mid-1990s. "Was it a bunch of techies who did not talk and simply said stuff like, 'Go to Camera 2'? But it turns out these guys were a lot of fun. They were pranksters who ripped each other back and forth and made fun of things, whether it was each other or the players or people in the stands. It was fun."
Duhamel is a bit of an obsessive about sports, especially the Twins and Vikings. He said he watches ESPNews constantly, especially when his wife,
"If the Heat think they are going to waltz through the East, they have another thing coming," Duhamel said. "LeBron is an amazing talent, but just the way he left Cleveland, I thought, 'Who is advising this kid?' I don't think he is a bad person at all, but it kind of sickened me a little bit. So therefore I would like to see them not make the playoffs, but I know that's not going to happen."
• "Major League Baseball is taking a backseat to NFL (which is expected) and exhibition NBA play (unexpected). Bring back steroids please."
• "Someone in Bristol should be knee capped for this:
• "Things the #Bills aren't good at: 1) tackling, 2) covering, 3) throwing, 4) running, 5) blocking. Am I missing anything?"