Zaza Pachulia rocks the mic during the preseason (Getty Images)
Milwaukee Bucks center Zaza Pachulia has always been a bit of a charming goofball. A talented, hard-working one to be sure, because there’s a reason why Milwaukee signed the 29-year old center Zaza to a three-year, $15.6 million contract over the offseason – and that reason is that they’re the Milwaukee Bucks.
Bad jokes aside, the guy can play. And once that contract and possibly one more after that are finished, Zaza will have to retire from the NBA, and the cushy courts he’s used to. Apparently our man still wants to lace ‘em up once his pro career is finished , and work in the building that helped teach Zaza the game back in his home country of Georgia years ago. That building needs a new court, though, and Zaza wants to buy the Bucks’ current home court. You heard me.
Zaza Pachulia is buying the old one for an undisclosed sum of money, he told Grantland this week. Pachulia plans to donate the old floor to the basketball academy Martve, in Tbilisi, Georgia, where Pachulia learned the game as a kid. (Toko Shengelia of the Nets also played there growing up.) Pachulia began playing there about 20 years ago, and when he went back last summer to conduct a youth clinic, he was surprised to find the same floor, he says. "It's in really bad shape," says Pachulia, who hasn't yet told the school he will be supplying a new floor at some point.
That's in part because Pachulia hasn't closed the deal with the team, though everyone involved hopes Pachulia can complete the deal. Pachulia has to buy the floor from the Bradley Center Sports and Entertainment Corporation, not the Bucks, and the two sides are still talking.
"This is my dream," Pachulia says. "I want to make this happen. It would be really exciting for me, and for the kids in Georgia, to have a chance to play on an NBA floor. So many superstars have played on that court, from the Bucks and other teams."
Lowe went on to quote an anonymous league executive as pointing out that the average NBA home court costs something just above the six-figure mark, so this is a significant purchase.
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If you’ve been paying attention to the Bucks this year, you know that the court Pachulia is after is not long for the Bradley Center. It was actually replaced in the exhibition season by a Robert Indiana-inspired new court that debuted to rave reviews. Those reviews halted once an exhibition game between the Bucks and the Raptors was canceled because players were slipping on an as-yet-undetermined substance on the floor, forcing the Bucks to bring back the old court that they once intended to replace.
No timetable has been set for the new court to take hold in Milwaukee, so Zaza and the folks at Tbilisi will have to wait. Still, this is incredibly cool – it’s one thing for an NBA player to donate a court to a gymnasium in need. It’s another to donate a court that once had Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Jake Voskuhl and Tim Duncan run across it. Let’s hope the good folks at the Bradley Center can expedite the transaction.
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