He came to the NBA as a huge talent, picked ahead of later legends. But Darko Milicic’s career was a big disappointment. Today he is happy as a farmer. And reflects critically on his past.
Draft night 2003, a night that Pistons fans will never forget. It was perhaps the most talented draft class we’ve seen, and working-class Detroit should finally get what it deserves, talent that could propel its franchise forward.
With the 2nd draft pick and the wealth of talent available, it was a no-lose situation, every draft pick was a guaranteed hit, right? Not correct!
The Pistons made a huge mistake picking Darko Milicic as a 2nd pick in the 2003 draft, ignoring not only future superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but also Carmelo Anthony.
Although Milicic became the 2004 NBA champion, he had nothing to do with the title and was called a failure throughout his career. Milicic, who turns 37 today, has now found his peace and is living his life as a farmer.
“I’ve gained 90 pounds since I stopped playing. I currently weigh 350 pounds. I work on my farm and enjoy it. I take walks through my fields and observe everything, which makes me very happy. I’m still fairly inexperienced in this area, so I like to learn, seek advice and attend seminars. I’ve created my own peace of mind and I’m enjoying it. There are always problems, like any other job, but I’d rather do that than building skyscrapers in the city because I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it. I think that’s the most positive story of all because food production and food in general is our future in every way.”
Milicic gave a very interesting interview with Yahoo Sports in which he critically reflected on his NBA career and why he was such a flop, mostly blaming his own actions and behavior.
“I would do a lot of things differently today. It’s true that I ended up on a team trying to win a championship ring, which rarely happens to a draft number 2 player, but in the end we all look for excuses. I could say I didn’t get a real chance, but that’s just an excuse; it’s up to a young player to prove himself, to work hard and wait for his chance. My approach was completely different. As the number 2 coming from Europe I thought I was sent from God so I got into fights, got drunk before practice and spit on everyone but I spit on myself.
Milicic: “Well yes, I was the problem. That initial dissatisfaction is probably what caused me to start hating the game and not enjoying it anymore. There were some situations where I had already scored 20 points, but in my head I was like, ‘When is this game going to end, come on, let’s pack up and go home.’ I just had to feed my ego. I don’t care what happens next week. My whole approach since arriving in the US has just been wrong. I could say I was too young at the time, but I chose to go there and I obviously wasn’t prepared for what the league was going to ask of me.”
Milicic also explained why he doesn’t see himself as a typical failure. He says: “People in the US are obsessed with statistics. You just look at the stats and that’s it. Although I think they are quite right to do so. The guy looks at my stats and sees me as a role player happy to get his chance, but I’m not like that. I run away from it; all my life i will be the #2 who didn’t live up to expectations but i am what i am. I’m different from other losers. They wanted it but couldn’t, and I could. That’s the problem in my head, but nobody wants to deal with it. They just look at the stats and tell me I haven’t done anything.”
His NBA career was overshadowed by the players drafted after him. Milicic played in the NBA for nine seasons, where he averaged 6.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks and won a championship in his rookie year – something Carmelo Anthony has yet to achieve.
Originally posted by OpenCourt Basketball, NBA Talent Felt ‘God Sent’ – Only Finding Happy Farming