OK, that’s not exactly what 2003 no. 2 overall pick Darko Milicic — last seen in this space making his sport of the future debut — had to say about a peripatetic, underachieving NBA career highlighted by being super-glued to the Pistons bench. With comments culled from Blic by Hoops Hype, Darko insists, “I don’t miss basketball. I live very well, thank God.”
“I thought as a kid that talent was God-given, but it’s not. God gives you talent and you should use that talent with the real meaning of that word. I was stubborn. Maybe being young had something to do with it. There was option then of going to the NBA or staying in Serbia because Hemofarm knew that if I went to NBA they would get more money than they would get if I went to some European club. Here you had poverty and money was there.”
“Their system is cruel and I don’t like it. If a young player doesn’t succeed, they don’t look after him. That sucks. You have players who are first or second in the draft that get a chance to play. I didnt get the chance. LBJ is a killer now, but he did get a chance in his first year, he could shoot from the stands if he wanted. I barely got the chance. I had that situation in Orlando where if I shoot from perimeter, my coach Hill would yell, “Pass to Howard.” In Detroit nothing went right. Larry Brown always told me to go near the basket. They offered me a $40 million, four-year contract in Orlando, and then their manager blows it off, out of nowehere. My manager told me he would deal with it. I said OK, but just not Memphis. Anywhere but there. And, of course, I went to Memphis. Then I got injured, didn’t play much.
“I can’t play with American players. They only talked about who dunked on whom, who crossed over whom. I was weird to them because I didn’t think that way.”