It’s not every year that Croatia is in the World Cup final. In fact, it’s never happened before. So when the Vatreni advanced to the World Cup final with a win over England, it set off joy across the country and Croatians all around the world.
One of those ecstatic Croatians is Cleveland Cavaliers big man Ante Zizic. And in an awesome nod to Zizic’s country, the team is excusing their 21-year-old center from Summer League so he can watch Sunday’s final in his home country, as first reported Friday by cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon.
Zizic is a native of Split, Croatia
Zizic was born in Split, which is the second-biggest city in Croatia. He spent much of his youth playing in Europe and was drafted by the Celtics late in the first round of the 2016 draft. He spent just one season on Boston’s books — he played in Turkey — before being shipped to Cleveland as part of the Kyrie Irving deal.
Zizic only saw spot duty last year, averaging 6.7 minutes per game in 32 games with the Cavaliers. As would be expected with most experienced NBA players, Zizic played very well in this year’s Summer League. He averaged 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds — fifth and second league-wide, respectively — in two games in Las Vegas.
Zizic isn’t the only Croatian NBA player who’s excited for the World Cup
Zizic is one of six Croatians currently in the NBA, and most of them have taken to social media to express their excitement, including…