19 June, 2020

Zaza Pachulia – A Message to Future Basketball Players

"I became a member of the NBA family 16 years ago. Those were the best years, when I had to work hard, show determination, give up a lot of things, but in return I got the best memories, gained a lot of friends, experience and, most importantly, your love. All my life I will be grateful for the support I felt despite the great distance.

I'm not worried that it's all over, I'm happy that all that was .... thank you."

September 6, 2019

I can't forget those moments when I first stepped on the court. Leaving it, I felt the beginning of something special, the immense love for this sport and the joy it gave me. These emotions have been with me throughout my career.

Now, unfortunately, I am no longer on the court, as I have finished my career as a player. But the emotions that the game of basketball gave me have stayed with me and will always be with me.

I was still very young when my first coach told me that with hard work success will come. Gradually I understood the meaning of these words. Indeed, if you truly love your work and do not spare yourself, success is sure to come.

Of the many games I played, I especially remember the first game in the NBA, when I stepped on the court for the first time, and the second game - the finals, when I became the champion. The thing I was most proud of during those years was that many Georgia fans were able to mobilize over a million votes for the All-Star. That was probably the biggest pride for me that I will never forget.

When people ask me what I might have been if I wasn't a basketball player, I say probably the tallest math teacher ever. Just kidding of course, but I loved the subject and would have loved to go in that direction.

Basketball has taught me about life and everything in general. The NBA is a big family to me, I'm happy to have spent important years of my life in this family. When I started my last season in the NBA, I wrote this post on my Facebook, "When I first came to basketball, I never thought I would ever write this status. 16th season in the NBA." So today I truly believe that with hard work you can achieve anything. Work hard and always believe in yourself and also think about the fact that if you don't work hard, there's bound to be a peer somewhere who might be more determined than you. Therefore, do not miss your moment.

Remember that if you want to, you can use productively every second. You can get information on many issues today. So don't waste your time and engage in self-development. I finished my sports career at the age of 36, but I'm starting a new phase - I started studying at Stanford University as a sports management major. During the quarantine period, I was taking this course and coaching my kids basketball at the same time. I am a strict and demanding coach for them, although I believe that from this age, they should be taught discipline, which is the most important thing for success in sports.

In many years I hope to see a lot of Georgian kids in big basketball - maybe from my academy or other schools. I'm rooting for them hard. I also hope that some of my children will follow my path and play basketball at the professional level. I will always be proud of the success of the next generation.

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