The first thing that comes to mind when you think about Darko Milicic is probably the biggest draft bust of all-time. Drafted by the Detroit Pistons as the second draft pick in 2003, right after LeBron James, but before players like Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh seems like a foolish thing to do, looking at it from this perspective. Even though Milicic played ten seasons in the NBA, he never accomplished a career that you would expect from a player that was drafted right behind LeBron in perhaps one of the greatest draft-classes of all-time.
In an interview he did for Happy TV, Milicic opened about his NBA career and life in the US by saying he never fully adapted to that lifestyle. He often called himself a guy who couldn’t relate to other NBA players because they only talked about basketball, and he said that he also had other interests in life other people couldn’t understand. He also touched upon the topic playing with selfish players, and Kevin Love’s name came to his mind when he literally described him as a cry-baby.
Milicic spent two years with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and after having a solid first year with the squad, he once again found himself not wanting to play basketball in the NBA. That soon leads to another conflict with teammates and coaches. The Timberwolves GM at that time David Kahn wanted him to apologize to his teammates, but than Milicic decided to do the opposite and said he doesn’t want to play on a losing team with someone like Kevin Love he only cares about stats and not winning games.
“I had the opportunity to play with great players in the NBA, but they were all crybabies, like Kevin Love, for example. Minnesota Timberwolves GM wanted me to apologize to all the players on the way I behaved, and I didn’t want to apologize to those crybabies. You have a guy like Kevin Love, and don’t get me wrong I don’t have the right to talk about anything because of the way I played, and he achieved much more than I ever did. But he is a type of guy that is not satisfied if he doesn’t score 20 points and grabs ten rebounds even though we won the game. He was unhappy in the locker room and was even close to crying, and he is supposed to be your go-to guy in a championship team?”
Milicic is realistic and says he was never a true role model, but the values he was taught when playing basketball is that the team and winning come first. For some players, it’s the complete opposite, and everyone takes more care about their stats than team success, which is something he was frustrated with when playing for the Timberwolves.
I can’t play with those types of players, and I won’t apologize to them. I did some stupid things in my career, and I agree I was wrong, but I would never apologize to Kevin Love. I was used to different values growing up like, team basketball, teamwork, and winning games.
After his NBA career was over, only at the age of 30, Darko dedicated his time to kickboxing, but soon he realized fighting isn’t his thing. He is now running a farm and seems to be completely happy with his life and understand he didn’t reach out to his potential and expectations people set for him in the beginning.