Darko Milicic is hanging up his basketball sneakers and putting on a pair of boxing gloves instead.
Milicic, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft, will sign a contract Wednesday to be a professional kickboxer in his native Serbia, according to NBA Serbia.
Milicic, who’s just 29, hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2012-13 season, when he appeared in only one game for five minutes with the Boston Celtics.
Milicic carried high expectations when he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons ahead of the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. Yet the 7-foot center played sparingly and averaged just 1.6 points per game over three seasons in Detroit. Milicic attributed his slow development to the lack of playing time.
“I’ve said it 10,000 times, the best way for me to improve is to play,” he said in 2005, via the Washington Post. “All the work in practice and individual workouts can only help me so much. I can’t say how good I am or how bad I am because I haven’t played to show myself, or anybody.”
When Milicic did get a chance to show off his skills, things didn’t improve much.
After leaving the Pistons, he played for the Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Celtics. His best season came in 2010-11 with the Wolves, when he averaged 8.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
Now, Milicic hopes his athleticism will translate more efficiently in the kickboxing ring.
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