Jiří Zídek: He was the first Czech to play in the famous NBA, but the most important win came earlier


  • Conquest of America (3:30 a.m.)
  • Competition among NCAA collegiate players (17:50)
  • The first Czech in the NBA (10:30 p.m.)
  • Back to Europe (27:31)
  • Nymburk as a way to the national team (37:51)
  • Euroleague commentator career (41:20)

Although Jiří Zídek has a surname that is automatically associated with basketball in our country, education at home has always come first. “Basketball always comes second. It’s thanks to my mom, who always has the main say in our house,” he said on the podcast Finished Zídek, who left for the United States two years after the revolution, where he studied economics at the University of California (UCLA) and played basketball at the same time.

“It was an eye-opener for me. I studied a foreign language, I belonged to the university team. I’m glad that I didn’t immediately become a professional athlete, but I could combine studies and sports,” said by Zídek, who won the prestigious NCAA university league in 1995. Almost 40,000 spectators came to the finals and Zídek considers this victory the most important victory of his career. You can watch the entire episode on video or listen to it in the audio player at the beginning of the article.

In the same year, Zídek was drafted by the Charlotte team in the first round, and he lasted three years in the NBA. “I experienced the limits of my natural talent there. I think I only got there thanks to hard work, because not many bad athletes like me make it to the NBA,” Zídek honestly admitted, who after leaving in the United States won the Euroleague with Lithuanian Kaunas, played for Real Madrid and at the end of his career, he won the first two titles with Nymburk.

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The next time you want to watch your favorite athlete, whose race you remember, then write an email jakub.stepanek@novinky.cz and put “Finished“. You can also follow us on Spotify, Apple Podcast or Podcasty.cz

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