Earlier this year I talked with Dino Radja, former Boston Celtics player, 2-time Olympic silver medalist, one of the 50 Greatest Players in FIBA history, and member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Joining the Celtics
I would like to start with a question about one of your former teammates, Toni Kukoč. How do you recall playing with Toni and do you think that he will join you in the Naismith Hall of Fame?
He is the best player I ever played with. Even today we could play together with our eyes closed. He will definitely join me in HOF. Very soon, I hope.
How do you recall meeting Red Auerbach?
I met him many times as he was coming to our practices often. We talked a lot. He liked me and sometimes he called me to evaluate rookies on workouts. It was blessing knowing him.
You joined the Celtics in 1993, when you had a chance to play with Hall-of-Famer, Robert Parish. How much did you learn from him?
“Chief” is a great guy, completely different on and off the court. On the court he was stone face, very professional but in locker room he was easy going, laughing guy, fun to be around. Of course, that I learned a lot from him in that year we played together.
Before the NBA, you played for eight years in Europe. How much did the NBA differ from European leagues?
NBA is much faster and stronger league. You have to be best prepared whole year. So many games and no time to practice so summer workout is key of success.
During your time with the Celtics you had a chance to play with such players like Dee Brown, or Dominique Wilkins. Was it a dream coming true?
NBA is much faster and stronger league and playing with those guys was privilege. I remain good friends with most of them.
You played under two coaches for the Celtics – Chris Ford and M.L. Carr. What differed them?
Ford was more strict and screaming kind and M.L. was easy going player coach. Both great guys and I enjoyed playing for them.
Playoffs and legacy
In the 1995 Playoffs you faced Orlando with Shaquille O’Neal and Horace Grant. How difficult was it for you to play against those guys?
Shaq is one of the best all-time NBA players and Grant was one of the best defenders in league. It was very hard to play against them, but I found my way to be successful. In that series we had them on the ropes, but they were much better team and they beat us 3-1. All beside first game where close ones.
You were selected to the Hall of Fame in the same class as Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Grant Hill and Ray Allen. How much does it mean to you?
It was unbelievable class 2018. I can’t even understand the magnitude of that group. Huge privilege to be in same year with those guys.
What do you think about the current Boston Celtics team? Do you think that they can compete for a championship?
Current Celtics team is very good, and I think they have a shoot at title. Tatum is developing in superstar and if they stay healthy everything is possible.