ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There are some thing NBA players can’t control. They can affect how hard the work, how much they practice, things like that. But they can’t really control where they are drafted, which is something that always seemed to work against Darko Milicic.
And now, according to a report from NBASerbia, Darko is done with basketball.
Milicic was the second overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, selected after LeBron James, ahead of Carmelo Anthony. At the time, he was a prospect that most people — including NBA front offices — didn’t know much about. There were some reports that Milicic was not only ready but had the type of game that would translate well to the NBA, and his pre-Draft workout apparently was spectacular.
But once he got to the NBA, drafted by the Detroit Pistons, it never came together. His rookie season, the Pistons won an NBA title. Darko got into the clinching game in garbage time… and broke his hand. He bounced around between several teams looking for opportunities for playing time, and he showed flashes of ability and skill. (His passing ability inspired at least one memorable interaction between then-Wolves GM David Kahn and Chris Webber at summer league.)
If this really is it for Darko, he leaves having played ten NBA seasons, a fruitful career for any professional athlete. Unfortunately, that draft position would never go away.
According to the report above, Darko is retiring to pursue a career in kickboxing. And I don’t know about you, but a 7-foot, 250-pound kickboxer sounds like he’d be pretty terrifying to fight, at least to me.