Based on his NBA career, Zeljko Rebraca certainly isn’t a Hall of Fame player. But remember, the Naismith Hall of Fame is a basketball Hall of Fame, not just a NBA Hall of Fame, and Rebraca had a pretty decorated European career before he debuted with the Pistons. Jay Aych of The Painted Area recently wrote about international players who could merit Hall of Fame consideration down the road and he mentioned Rebraca, albeit as a longshot:
Rebraca’s NBA career never got off the ground because of constant health issues (only 215 games in 5 seasons), but the big man was successful before he came stateside. During his club career Zelly netted two Euroleague titles (2000 EL Final 4 MVP), two Greek League titles (2000 Greek League MVP) and one Italian League title. Playing for Yugoslavia, he took home one Olympic silver, two Euro gold and one Worlds gold in 1998 where he was key to their title.
Rebraca’s biggest contribution to the Pistons was his use in the Rasheed Wallace trade. But he had also had a solid rookie season for the team, averaging 7 points and 4 rebounds off the bench and providing interior toughness on a team that was a surprise 50-game winner in Rick Carlisle’s first season. A heart condition robbed Rebraca of much of his second season, but he was tough and feisty, definitely a Detroit kind of player.
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