Boston Celtics backup center Darko Milicic left home at age 15 to play professional basketball in order to earn money that his family desperately needed. As a Serb growing up in a war-torn community, Darko's sense of tact was probably formed out of that brutal upbringing, and it's possible that his development was both rushed in some areas, and arrested in others. Toss in the pressures created by being selected ahead of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, and even Kendrick Perkins in the 2003 draft (just a week after he turned 18), and you have a pretty combustible sort with a quick temper and massive chip on his shoulder.
Signed by Boston last month for (say it with me, as you have with the last few teams) probably be his last NBA chance, Milicic is bringing that live wire act to a team already full of them. His will come in only about seven or eight minutes a game, if that, but at least he's on record as telling the press he'll go WAY further than Kevin Garnett (even if he's come close), Rajon Rondo, or Jason Terry would ever cop to.
"I'll do whatever it takes, whatever I need to do to help this team. So now, if I have to go kill someone on the court, I'll kill someone on the court."
You'd think that someone that grew up around, y'know, actual death would give pause before going this far. Even if English is Darko's second language. Milicic didn't seem to mind. He'll kill ya.
Probably not. None of this is meant to be taken literally, but these sorts of pronouncements become bigger than their figurative meaning for three reasons:
1). Don't talk about killing dudes, duh.
2). Darko Milicic's nearly decade-long NBA status as a joke, of sorts. Possibly entirely as a joke. We're just trying to give pause before we pounce.
3). Darko Milicic's rather violent history. He may have only played less than half a game, on average, in a career that has seen him sit nearly half the games his five different NBA teams have appeared in, along with a sporadic international career in the offseason, but we've never seen anyone rip a jersey off in frustration on their way to the bench after being lifted from a game. And we've never heard a NSF-Serbian-W outburst like this.
The first part is a shame. The second part is a complete and total shame, because Darko has the size and athleticism to have both served as a near-dominant force defensively and a creative scorer and passer on the other end were it not for myriad of influences; with his iffy motivation serving as the strongest.
The third, admittedly, could just serve as a series of missteps along the way. Missteps that, frankly, are much more passable than Andrew Bynum or Tyreke Evans' dangerous driving habits, or less worrisome than Chris Kaman's government-legal firearms obsession (even if Kaman isn't breaking any laws).
Darko may have just lost it a few times, and then cobbled together an unfortunate choice of words while attempting to tell local press (this is the most prestigious uniform he's ever played for) that he's ready to do whatever it takes to earn his spot on the championship-contending Boston Celtics.
Or, he might try to do terrible things to Tyler Hansbrough's Gatorade. Only the upcoming 2012-13 season, and the garbage time that stems from it, knows.
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