Jiří "George" Zídek Jr. (born 2 August 1973), is a Czech retired professional basketball player and sports commentator. He played college basketball in the United States for the UCLA Bruins from 1991–1995. He then became the first Czech player ever drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA), when he was selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the 1995 NBA draft. He played in the NBA for a total of three seasons and then played professionally in Europe, before retiring in 2006.
|Born||2 August 1973|
|Listed height||7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)|
|Listed weight||250 lb (113 kg)|
|High school||Arabska Secondary|
|NBA draft||1995 / Round: 1 / Pick: 22nd overall|
|Selected by the Charlotte Hornets|
|2002–2003||Prokom Trefl Sopot|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||453 (3.4 ppg)|
|Rebounds||286 (2.1 rpg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Zídek was born in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia, now Zlín, Czech Republic. His father, Jiří Zídek Sr., was a star for USK Slavia Prague in the 1960s and 1970s, leading them to victory in the European 2nd-tier level 1968–69 season's European Cup Winners' Cup (one of the predecessor league's to today's EuroCup). The Zideks are the first (and as of 2010, the only) father and son ever to reach a EuroLeague Finals game.
In 1991, Zídek relocated to the United States, to attend the University of California, Los Angeles, where he played on the UCLA Bruins men's basketball team from 1991–1995. While in America, he became known as George. Zídek was the starting center of UCLA's 1995 NCAA championship team.
The 7-foot Zídek was selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the 1995 NBA draft, with the 22nd overall pick. He was the first Czech player ever drafted by an NBA team, and was then followed by Jiří Welsch, who was drafted in 2002. Zidek spent three seasons in the NBA, playing for the Hornets, the Denver Nuggets, and the Seattle SuperSonics, averaging 3.4 points per game in his NBA career.
In 1998, he returned to Europe, joining former UCLA teammate Tyus Edney on the roster of the Lithuanian power Žalgiris. His first season back in Europe saw him lift the EuroLeague championship trophy with Žalgiris, which was the first time a Lithuanian team had won the EuroLeague title. Zidek thus became the first person ever to win both an NCAA and a EuroLeague championship. Zidek's European career took him to several other teams before he returned to the Czech Republic, where he helped ČEZ Nymburk to Czech national league titles in 2004 and 2005. He took the 2005–06 season off to recuperate from knee surgery, and served at the end of the season as a EuroLeague TV commentator for the EuroLeague Final Four, which was held in Prague. However, due to ongoing health problems, Zídek never returned to the court as a player, and in 2006 he announced his retirement from playing basketball. He subsequently became a sports commentator for the EuroLeague, working for EuroLeague TV.
- Official NBA Register George Puro – 1995– Page 143 " .... that George Zidek is the only first-round draft pick in NBA history whose last name starts with a Z? "
- Finney, Ryan (2010). "2010–11 UCLA Men's Basketball Media Guide" (PDF). UCLA Athletic Department. p. 112. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 March 2011.
- "BASKETBALL Jiri Zidek, 17, a 7-foot, 230-pound center from Prague, Czechoslovakia, signed a letter of intent to enroll at UCLA" Seattle Times Friday 10 May 1991
- Prague Post: "Jiri Welsch in paradise" 7 August 2002 "Welsch became only the second Czech player ever drafted by an NBA team. Jiri Zidek, a 7-footer who played for then-National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) champion University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), was picked 22nd by the Charlotte Hornets in 1995. He lasted only three years in the league and now, at 29, plays in Poland. By contrast, Welsch bloomed early."
- Hoopshype Bob Bass timeline "February 20, 1997 Traded forward Scott Burrell to the Golden State Warriors for Donald Royal; traded center Jiri Zidek and guard Anthony Goldwire to the Denver Nuggets for guard Ricky Pierce."
- Jiří Zídek. euroleague.net
- Vladimir Stankovic Jiri Zidek – A Czech legend "The name surely sounds familiar. Jiri Zidek is a colleague; he writes a weekly column during the season on Euroleague.net and works as a color commentator on Euroleague.TV. He is also one of only four men to have won both the NCAA Tournament and the Euroleague championship, with UCLA in 1995 and Zalgiris in 1999, respectively. That Zidek certainly deserves his own blog entry due to his great career. But today I will write about another Jiri Zidek, his father."
- Euroleague.net Jiří Zídek profile
- Fibaeurope.com Jiří Zídek profile
- Career statistics and player information from NBA.com
- basketball-reference.com George Zidek, Jiri Zidek (George)
- Sports-Reference.com George Zidek UCLA Statistics