If only Darko Milicic had worked out. The tall, talented Serb was drafted by the Detroit Pistons number 2 overall in the 2003 NBA draft. That’s after LeBron James, but before Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Boris Diaw and a few other guys you’ve heard a lot about since. Maybe it was the name. Announcers loved saying Darko–and the match with Detroit, home of the original Bad Boys, seemed too good to be true. (Darko joins Bad Boys? It’s got Marvel Comics written all over it.) Darko even lent his name to one of the first underground popular weird and twisted sports blogs that was kinda-sorta a pre-Twitter Internet meme: FreeDarko.com.
But in the end it was too good to be true, and Darko Milicic never really made an impact. He did get a ring as a rookie, being part of the Pistons’ 2004 NBA championship team, but he wasn’t a factor. Darko played for Orlando, Memphis, the Knicks, Minnesota and exactly one game for Boston before calling it quits. He’s only 29 but hasn’t played in the NBA since 2012. Sports Illustrated reports that Darko Milicic will now become a professional kickboxer in his native Serbia. SI takes its info from the website NBASerbia.com. Who knew about that? Perhaps Darko is finally free. Note to all other kickboxers: Darko Milicic is 7-feet-tall, 275 pounds–at least.