BELGRADE (OKS) - Serbia basketball great Vlade Divac on Tuesday became the new president of the country's Olympic Committee (OKS).
Divac, who won numerous medals with the former Yugoslavia in international competition and also enjoyed a long career in the NBA, was confirmed as the new president at the General Assembly of OKS just minutes after his rival, former president Ivan Curkovic, decided to step out of the race.
Curkovic explained that his sudden move was made "due to political pressure" that he was under, and "to secure legality of the election" since delegates previously had decided not to vote secretly for the president, which is a requirement under current OKS statutes if there is more than one candidate.
Divac, who signed off from international basketball in 2002 after helping Yugoslavia capture the gold medal at the FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis, spoke about the importance of sport to Serbia.
"Sport has built me as a man and taught me not just to compete, but to lead the team as well,” Divac said.
"I'm ready to be animated and to motivate every single member of our society to contribute to the promotion of sport.
“Our sport will have to have a more significant place in Serbia, not to just amble along anymore.
"Part of our focus will be the stimulation of sport for youth, and to narrow the risk of flight of our young talents who have been leaving our country, and our sport, too early."
Divac, 40, officially finished his playing career in 2007.
He won gold medals at the FIBA World Championships in Argentina in 1990 and 12 years later in Indianapolis.
Divac also captured EuroBasket titles in Rome (1991), Athens (1995) and Paris (1999).
His brilliant career began in 1983 in Sloga Kraljevo, and after becoming one of the best Partizan Belgrade players at the end of 1980s, he joined the Los Angeles Lakers and played for them for seven years.
After being dealt to the Charlotte Hornets (1996-1998) in the move that sent the rights to rookie Kobe Bryant to LA, he joined the Sacramento Kings and played there from 1998-2004.
Divac returned to the Lakers for his last season and finished his NBA career with averages of 11.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals in 1,134 games.
Together with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon, Divac was one of only three players in NBA history to amass 13,000 points (13,364), 9,000 rebounds (9,294), 3,000 assists (3,522) and 1,500 blocked shots (1,630).