Darko Milicic, a man forever resigned to be a footnote and the answer to a trivia question, isn't leaving pro sports without a fight.
Milicic was the second overall pick of the storied 2003 NBA draft, right behind LeBron James and before Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The seven-footer spent 11 seasons in the NBA, bouncing among the Detroit Pistons (with whom he won an NBA title in 2004), the Orlando Magic, the Memphis Grizzlies, the New York Knicks, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Boston Celtics. Milicic played in one game for Boston in 2012 before asking the team to release him so he could attend to personal matters.
According to a report on NBASerbia.com with the headline, "Darko Milicic put an end: Goodbye NBA career, good afternoon kick-boxing!", the 29-year-old will sign a contract to become a professional kickboxer in his native Serbia. At 7-feet and nearly 300 pounds, Milicic figures to be a formidable fighter.
Milicic played in 468 games during his NBA career, averaging 18.5 minutes, six points and 4.2 rebounds. He was the youngest foreign player to play in the NBA and became the youngest player (18 years and 356 days) to play in the NBA Finals when he made an appearance during the 2004 Lakers-Pistons series. The latter is a record Milicic still holds.
He had said that after retiring from pro basketball he would like to fulfill his mandatory military obligation in Serbia.
Perhaps one day Milicic can fight Toronto Raptors forward James Johnson, who is quite an accomplished kickboxer.