Darko Miličić

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Darko Miličić
Darko Milicic cropped.jpg
Miličić with the Timberwolves in April 2010
Personal information
Born (1985-06-20) June 20, 1985 (age 34)
Novi Sad, SR Serbia, Yugoslavia
Listed height7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Listed weight250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
NBA draft2003 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall
Selected by the Detroit Pistons
Playing career2001–2012
Number13, 31, 99, 26
Career history
20032006Detroit Pistons
20062007Orlando Magic
20072009Memphis Grizzlies
2009–2010New York Knicks
20102012Minnesota Timberwolves
2012Boston Celtics
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points2,813 (6.0 ppg)
Rebounds1,971 (4.2 rpg)
Blocks613 (1.3 bpg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Darko Miličić (Serbian Cyrillic: Дарко Миличић, Serbian pronunciation: [ˈdarko ˈmilit͡ʃit͡ɕ]; born June 20, 1985) is a Serbian former professional basketball player. He is 2.13 m (7 ft 0 in), and played center.

He was selected by the Detroit Pistons as the second overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft after LeBron James, and ahead of players such as Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. However, Miličić never received significant playing time during his ​2 12 seasons with the team and was traded to the Orlando Magic in 2006. After stints with the Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks, Miličić was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010, then signed a four-year contract in the off-season. However, he was released by Minnesota in 2012, he signed with Boston Celtics later that year, but was released after playing one regular-season game. He is the fourth youngest player and the youngest foreign player to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

He represented the Serbian national basketball team internationally.

Professional career[edit]

Hemofarm (2001–2003)[edit]

Miličić started playing professional basketball at the age of 16 with the Serbian team Hemofarm where he stayed for two seasons until the 2003 NBA draft.

Detroit Pistons (2003–2006)[edit]

Unlike most teams with high draft picks, the Pistons were a good team that made the Eastern Conference Finals the season before; the Pistons held the pick because of a 1997 trade that had sent Otis Thorpe to the Vancouver Grizzlies.[1] Miličić saw limited playing time during his first season with the Pistons, but did become the youngest player to appear in an NBA Finals game (18 years and 356 days) and won the NBA Finals Championship just five days later when the Pistons defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals,[2] he was also the fourth youngest player and the youngest foreign player to play in the NBA.

Pistons team president Joe Dumars repeatedly stated that Miličić would play a big part in the team's future, but he did not see a large increase in playing time during his second season. Miličić has been quoted on numerous occasions as attributing his slow development on his lack of playing time; "I've said it 10,000 times, the best way for me to improve is to play. All the work in practice and individual workouts can only help me so much."[3]

After Larry Brown's departure, Flip Saunders was hired as head coach of the Pistons, it was expected that Miličić would see more playing time due to Saunders' track record of developing young players such as Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury. With Elden Campbell no longer on Detroit's roster and Dale Davis brought in as a mentor, most NBA experts[who?] believed that Miličić would see considerably more minutes that season as the Pistons' full-time backup center behind Ben Wallace. While Miličić played well in the NBA's summer leagues and earned the praise of his teammates, little changed in the first half of the 2006 season. Under Saunders, Miličić still averaged only 5.6 minutes per game, and received significant playing time only in blowout wins or blowout losses for the Pistons. Miličić's lack of playing time in Detroit was frequently highlighted in publications like ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated, he later questioned whether the Pistons should have drafted him.[4] In the 96 games he played as a Piston, he only scored 152 points and averaged 1.6 points a game.[5]

Orlando Magic (2006–2007)[edit]

Miličić playing with the Orlando Magic in February 2007.

On February 15, 2006, just prior to the NBA's All-Star break, Miličić was traded, along with point guard Carlos Arroyo, to the Orlando Magic for Kelvin Cato and a first-round pick in the 2007 NBA Draft (Rodney Stuckey).[6]

During a game against the New York Knicks he played 32 minutes and finished with 13 points and 7 rebounds; the 13 points and 32 minutes were season highs, and he led the Magic in minutes for that game. Miličić averaged 2.4 blocks per game in his first 20 games as a member of the Magic. In the 2006–07 playoffs, he increased his scoring by 4 points per game to 12.3 on 58.8% shooting.[7] When his rookie contract expired offseason, Orlando GM Otis Smith did not sign the matching offer on the table, and so he became an unrestricted free agent.

Memphis Grizzlies (2007–2009)[edit]

On July 12, 2007, the first day of free agency, Miličić was signed by the Memphis Grizzlies to a three-year, $21 million contract.[8] Miličić hurt his Achilles tendon practicing with the Serbian national team in the 2008 offseason but was available to start at the beginning of the season. Miličić began the 2008–09 season starting at power forward but, due to poor play, was moved to the bench. Miličić regained his starting job as his play steadily improved in early December 2008. Miličić's progress was set back by an injury on December 26, 2008 against the Indiana Pacers when he broke a knuckle on his right hand during the game.[9]

Miličić's time with the Grizzlies was one of the low points of his career personally, partially as he did not want to play for the team, because of an injury, and also because the team was not performing well.[10] After coming home from games, his wife would recall that he would punch the walls of his house in anger.[11] During a game against the Houston Rockets in early December 2008, he even deliberately ripped his jersey in frustration (the jersey was later autographed by him and sold at an auction).[12][13][14][15][16]

He was eventually replaced by Marc Gasol as a starter.

New York Knicks (2009–2010)[edit]

On June 25, 2009, Miličić was traded to the New York Knicks for Quentin Richardson and cash considerations.[17] On December 17, 2009, Miličić said that he planned to leave the NBA and return to playing basketball in Europe the following season.[18]

Minnesota Timberwolves (2010–2012)[edit]

On February 17, 2010, Miličić was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves along with cash considerations for Brian Cardinal;[19] the Timberwolves agreed to re-sign Milicic for 4 years and $20 million on July 1, 2010. David Kahn said that Darko was "like manna from heaven."[20] The 2010–11 Minnesota season was Milicic's best statistically; in interviews he looked back on that time period fondly relative to the rest of his time in the NBA,[10] he averaged 8.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game, finishing the season 5th in the league in blocks per game. Miličić had his best games on November 19, when he scored 23 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks against the Los Angeles Lakers;[21] and on December 14, 2010, when he had a career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds against the Golden State Warriors.[22]

Miličić began the 2011-12 season as the Timberwolves starting center. On January 20, 2012, he scored a season-high of 22 points and seven rebounds against the Los Angeles Clippers.[23] However, he saw his playing time diminish as the season went on. On July 12, 2012, Miličić was waived by the Timberwolves under the league's amnesty clause.[24]

Boston Celtics (2012)[edit]

In September 2012, Miličić signed with the Boston Celtics.[25] On November 21, 2012, the Celtics released Miličić at his request, so that he could attend to personal matters,[26] he spent only one month with the team and played only 5 minutes.


In June 2013, Miličić announced that he had retired from the NBA.[27] In September 2014, it was revealed that Miličić had retired from professional basketball in order to pursue a kickboxing career.[28]

On 19 May 2015, it was announced that Miličić had agreed to come back from retirement and start playing professional basketball again with Metalac Farmakom of the Basketball League of Serbia and the ABA League after the season was over; the announcement was made by Boško Đukanović, the club's president, and later confirmed by Miličić himself.[29] However, Miličić later changed his mind.[30]

International career[edit]

Miličić played for the FR Yugoslavia U16 national team at the 2001 U16 Eurobasket and won a gold medal.

In 2006, Miličić led Serbia and Montenegro at the 2006 FIBA World Championship. Serbia and Montenegro had decided to replace their aging superstars, who had led the team to a gold medal finish in the previous 2002 FIBA World Championship, with young blood. Miličić led the team in rebounds (56) and blocked shots (17) and was second on the team in scoring (16.2 ppg) and assists (11) through six games. In Serbia and Montenegro's sixth and final game against Spain, Miličić matched up against NBA All-Star Pau Gasol and finished with a very respectable 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

After a 68–67 overtime loss to Greece in the EuroBasket 2007, Miličić made vulgar remarks in his native language about the referees and their families in front of Serbian media,[31][32] he received a $13,770 fine by FIBA and his outburst was heavily criticized by Memphis Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace and head coach Marc Iavaroni.[33] Miličić was never invited to the Serbia national team afterwards.

Post-playing career[edit]

Kickboxing career[edit]

Miličić had a stint in kickboxing during 2014. On December 18, 2014, he had his official first debut in kickboxing under the WAKO rules in his hometown Novi Sad,[34] he lost that fight by 2nd round TKO from Serbian kickboxer Radovan Radojčin from Senta, Serbia.[35]


Miličić now works as a farmer in his native Serbia;[36] as of August 2017, he owned and operated an apple orchard of about 125 acres (51 ha), with plans to purchase more land and also grow cherries.[11]

Personal life[edit]

His parents are Milorad and Zora. During the Yugoslav Wars, when Darko was not yet 10, he heard a news report in which his father was named as one of several Serbian soldiers killed in action; however, a few minutes later, the newscaster indicated some of the soldiers, including his father, had been incorrectly included as killed, his father ultimately survived the wars.[11] His parents' families hail from Janj near Šipovo in Bosanska Krajina,[37] his sister Tijana is a volleyball player.[38]

On May 23, 2009 he married his girlfriend Zorana Markuš,[39] they have daughter Lara and two sons - Lazar and Luka.[40] His wife is a fashion designer[40] and sister of deceased Serbian criminal Marko Markuš.[41]

In 2010, Miličić paid for a trip and treatment in China for five Serbian children suffering from Batten disease.[42]

Miličić is a supporter of the Ravna Gora Movement (Ravnogorski pokret),[43] and has tattoos of World War II Chetnik leaders Nikola Kalabić[44] and Momčilo Đujić on his stomach,[45] and Draža Mihailović and Brane Bogunović on his back.[46] In late 2013, he expressed his support for politician Vojislav Šešelj.[47]

A folk song was made in his honour by the Bosnian Serb duo Žare i Goci.[37]

Career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
Denotes season in which Miličić won an NBA championship

Regular season[edit]

2003–04 Detroit 34 0 4.7 .262 .000 .583 1.3 .2 .2 .4 1.4
2004–05 Detroit 37 2 6.9 .329 .000 .708 1.2 .2 .1 .5 1.8
2005–06 Detroit 25 0 5.6 .515 .000 .375 1.1 .4 .1 .6 1.5
2005–06 Orlando 30 1 20.9 .507 .000 .595 4.1 1.1 .4 2.1 7.6
2006–07 Orlando 80 16 23.9 .454 .000 .613 5.5 1.1 .6 1.8 8.0
2007–08 Memphis 70 64 23.8 .438 .000 .554 6.1 .8 .5 1.6 7.2
2008–09 Memphis 61 15 17.0 .515 .000 .562 4.3 .6 .4 .8 5.5
2009–10 New York 8 0 8.9 .471 .000 .000 2.3 .5 .5 .1 2.0
2009–10 Minnesota 24 18 25.6 .492 .000 .536 5.5 1.8 .8 1.4 8.3
2010–11 Minnesota 69 69 24.4 .469 .000 .557 5.2 1.5 .8 2.0 8.8
2011–12 Minnesota 29 23 16.3 .454 .000 .432 3.3 .6 .3 .9 4.6
2012–13 Boston 1 0 5.0 .000 .000 .000 1.0 .0 .0 .0 .0
Career 468 208 18.5 .460 .000 .574 4.2 .9 .4 1.3 6.0


2004 Detroit 8 0 1.8 .000 .000 .250 .4 .1 .1 .0 .1
2005 Detroit 9 0 2.3 .286 .000 1.000 .4 .1 .0 .1 .6
2007 Orlando 4 0 28.8 .588 .000 .529 4.5 1.0 .3 1.0 12.3
Career 21 0 7.1 .489 .000 .500 1.2 .3 .1 .2 2.6

Kickboxing record[edit]

Professional Kickboxing Record

Legend:   Win   Loss   Draw/No contest   Notes

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Windhorst, Brian (23 June 2013). "The chosen ones". ESPN. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  2. ^ Darko Milicic biography Archived 2009-12-01 at the Wayback Machine. NBA.com. Retrieved on October 30, 2009.
  3. ^ Lage, Larry (2005-06-17). "Pistons' Milicic is still waiting, watching". Boston Globe.
  4. ^ "Darko Milicic says Pistons wasted their pick on him". The Detroit News. January 9, 2010.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Detroit Pistons Players". Basketball-Reference.com.
  6. ^ "Pistons get Cato, first-round pick for Darko, Arroyo". ESPN. Associated Press. 2006-02-22.
  7. ^ NBA.com Darko Milicic career stats Archived 2007-06-30 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Milicic, Grizzlies agree on three-year deal July 11, 2007
  9. ^ "Milicic to miss 4-6 weeks with broken knuckle". ESPN.com. 28 December 2008.
  10. ^ a b "Whatever Happened to Darko Milicic - HoopsHype".
  11. ^ a b c Borden, Sam (August 2, 2017). "Finding Darko". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 2, 2017. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  12. ^ "Darko Milicic's torn jersey from Grizz v. Rockets win to go on online auction block". Memphis Grizzlies.
  13. ^ News, A. B. C. (7 November 2017). "More memorable jersey tears from NBA history". ABC News.
  14. ^ theassociation. "darko-rips-his-jersey" – via YouTube.
  15. ^ Darko Miličić. "[Darko Miličić ]darko-rips-his-jersey" – via YouTube.
  16. ^ TheAlassondro. "darko rips his jersey" – via YouTube.
  17. ^ "Knicks Trade For Former No. 2 Overall Pick Milicic". NBA.com. 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
  18. ^ Berman, Marc (2009-12-17). "Darko plans European return as he can't get off Knicks bench". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
  19. ^ "Wolves Acquire Darko Milicic from New York". NBA.com. 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
  20. ^ Craggs, Tommy (15 July 2010). "Darko Milicic Is Bread From God, And Other Crazy Things David Kahn Believes". Deadspin. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  21. ^ "Kobe Bryant, Matt Barnes key Lakers' rout of Wolves". ESPN. November 19, 2010.
  22. ^ "Warriors end 7-game slide as Monta Ellis and Reggie Williams combine for 60". ESPN. December 14, 2010.
  23. ^ "Kevin Love's 3 gives Minnesota the win after Ricky Rubio's tying 3-pointer". ESPN. January 20, 2012.
  24. ^ "Wolves Waive Darko Milicic". NBA.com. 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
  25. ^ "Celtics Sign Milicic". Boston Celtics.
  26. ^ "Celtics Waive Milicic". Boston Celtics.
  27. ^ Moore, Matt (23 June 2013). "Darko Milicic says he's done with the NBA". CBS News. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  28. ^ "Darko Miličić stavio tačku: zbogom NBA karijero, dobar dan kik-bokse!". nbaserbia.com (in Serbian). Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  29. ^ "Miličić potpisao za Metalac: Uželeo sam se košarke, Đukanović ima velike ambicije". Večernje novosti (in Serbian). 19 May 2015.
  30. ^ "Miličić odustao od igranja za Metalac!". Sportske.net (in Serbian). 12 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  31. ^ metacafe.com. "Metacafe - Online Video Entertainment Metacafe - Online Video Entertainment". Metacafe.
  32. ^ Miličić' angry comments after Serbia-Greece (Serbian language) on YouTube
  33. ^ "FIBA fines Milicic $14K for Euro referee outburst". ESPN.com. 7 September 2007.
  34. ^ "What an amazing month for Wako Pro December 2014!!!". WAKOPRO.
  35. ^ News Item: MILJAN K-1 PRVAK EVROPE (in Serbian)
  36. ^ Lou, William. "Former 1st-rounder Milicic now living as a farmer". theScore.com.
  37. ^ a b "Miličić - srpski vitez opevan u osmercu (VIDEO)". Telegraf.rs (in Serbian). 25 February 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  38. ^ DuPree, David (April 2, 2003). "Serbian teen lost in King James' shadow". USA Today. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  39. ^ Radojković, M. (25 May 2009). "Adrijana uživala u srpskoj kuhinji". blic.rs (in Serbian). Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  40. ^ a b Čanović, Anastasija (25 January 2017). "NESVAKIDAŠNJA SUPRUGA DARKA MILIČIĆA Sve tetovaže sam posvetila deci!". blic.rs (in Serbian). Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  41. ^ "SKUPA KOLA, JAHTE, POZNATI PRIJATELJI Ovako je živeo Marko Markuš, žestoki momak Novog Sada likvidiran u sačekuši". blic.rs (in Serbian). 30 November 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  42. ^ "Zvezdana protiv Batena" (in Serbian). Archived from the original on 2013-12-08. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  43. ^ "SPREM'TE SE: Darko Miličić šeta novog četnika". Kurir.rs (in Serbian). 22 July 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  44. ^ "TETOVIRAO KALABIĆA: Miličić krenuo Čičinim stopama". kurir.rs (in Serbian). 13 August 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  45. ^ "Poraz Miličića na debiju u ringu". b92.net (in Serbian). 18 December 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  46. ^ "I batine su za ljude: Miličić u ringu". vesti-online.com (in Serbian). Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  47. ^ "Former NBA star Dragan Milicic expressed support for Vojislav Seselj". inserbia.info (in Serbian). 2 November 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  48. ^ "WAKO PRO World Title in LK Kg. -88,600 and European Title K1 Kg. - 81,400, Novi Sad (Serbia) 18/12". WAKOPRO.
  49. ^ "WAKO PRO results of Soul Night of Champions, Novi Sad 18/12". WAKOPRO.

External links[edit]