He’s known as one of the greatest (or worst) busts in NBA history. Now he’s making his mark as a farmer back in his native Siberia, and ESPN will be airing a special piece reflecting on his disappointing basketball career and his current endeavors.
Darko Milicic was drafted No. 2 overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 2003 NBA Draft, one spot behind LeBron James and ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and others who went on to become bonafide NBA stars.
But after averaging a dismal 1.6 PPG and 5.8 minutes per game in 96 appearances with the Pistons, he was dealt to the Orlando Magic in 2006 and bounced around the NBA before leaving the league in 2013.
Pistons fans often referred to Milicic as the “human victory cigar,” as he would usually only play during blowout wins and losses, and his public complaints about the lack of playing time were well-documented. He never really gelled with the veteran core then Pistons head coach Larry Brown had in place, but it didn’t bother Brown one bit having played Darko sparingly.
“I don’t have any regrets about how we treated Darko,” Brown says now. “I have regrets that he couldn’t have been more mature and patient.”
Story authory Sam Borden discusses a number of things with the Serbian-born 7-footer, as he lays out in his feature piece. Darko even delves into how, like many foreign superstars with aspirations of finding their way to the NBA, he had a player he very much admired and respected: Kevin Garnett. The reason? Well, there really wasn’t one.
“I just sort of found him and decided he’s the one,” Darko says now. “It seemed like the player I was supposed to like.”
The show will air on ESPN this Sunday at 9 a.m ET. You can watch a preview of the segment here, and ready Borden’s entire piece on Darko here.