Darko Milicic says he used to drink before Pistons practices

Former NBA player Darko Milicic admitted to drinking before practices with the Pistons.
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Former NBA player Darko Milicic admitted to drinking before practices with the Pistons in a new interview with Serbia’s B92 that was translated into English on NBA Reddit.

The interview was published at the end of February. Milicic, the No. 2 pick in the 2003 draft (ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh), is regarded as one of the most notorious draft busts in history. Details about his off-court lifestyle choices continue to emerge more than a decade later.

"I'd do a lot of things differently now," Milicic said. "It's true that I ended up on a team that was trying to win a ring, which rarely happens to a No. 2 pick. But in the end, we're all looking for (excuses). I could say I didn't get a proper chance, however that's simply an (excuse). It's up to a young player to prove himself, work hard and wait for his chance.

"My approach was completely different, as a No. 2 pick coming from Europe. I thought I was sent by God. So I got into fights, got drunk before practices, spiting everyone, while in the end I was spiting myself."

Milicic has dabbled in professional kickboxing since the end of his eight-year NBA career. He now works as a farmer in his native Serbia.

"I had issues with everyone, and that was caused by me playing just for myself," Milicic said. "My goal wasn't to silence the critics, it was to silence my ego. Tonight I want to feed my ego, so I'll play a great game against (Tim) Duncan or (Pau) Gasol. Tomorrow, we have a totally irrelevant game against a center that's 10 times weaker so I'll put up another great game and become a consistent player because that's what they want from me. But I simply couldn't, I wasn't ready or willing to put in the work.

"So yeah, I was the problem. That initial dissatisfaction probably led to me starting to hate and not enjoy playing. There were some situations where I've already scored 20 points, but in my head I'm thinking: 'When will this game finally end, come on, let's pack it up and go home.' I just had to feed my ego, I couldn't care less what's going to happen the following week. My whole approach since coming to the U.S. was just wrong. I could say I was too young back then, but I chose to go there myself and I obviously wasn't prepared for what the league would require from me."