So as you can imagine, Zaza has taken to Milwaukee the way he did to Atlanta, and the way Atlanta did in return. Early last season, it came out that Zaza would be buying the Bucks' old court after they installed a new one. The plan was to send it to his native Georgia, home to banged up, terrible courts, to inspire kids who are in the position he once was.
It was a generally bemusing, delightful and neat development. Even with Zaza gone, rooting for him on a personal level still seemed like the way to go. But then the story died out, the new Bucks' court had some issues, and it was forgotten about.
But now we know the deal is close to being finalized. After the Bucks changed hands last year, the issue got put on the backburner, but as Zaza tells Grantland today, it was never going to completely go away. He waited for the legal shuffling to come to a halt and got it going again. For less than $100,000, Zaza will be making the lives of some NBA hopefuls:
Pachulia remembers practicing with the Georgian under-16 national team about 15 years ago when Vladimir Stepania, the first Georgian to make the NBA, popped in to watch the session. Pachulia was unsure how good he could really become, and what kind of career he could make for himself as a basketball player.
Stepania approached Pachulia after that practice and told him that he was good and just needed to work on his post moves. "I couldn’t sleep that night," Pachulia says.
Pachulia conducts offseason clinics at the academy in Tbilisi where he played as a kid, and he noticed last summer that the floor was deteriorating. He thought he could provide some similar inspiration by sprucing up the place with a court that would serve as a daily reminder of the NBA’s possibilities.
He had originally planned to have the court moved to his first choice, Martve academy in Tblisi where he played in his youth, but because he doesn't want the court dimensions and markings to be changed, it's out of the question. It has to be for practice only because of the differences between NBA and international dimensions, so he's still looking for a host.
Once that's settled, it'll take a few thousands of dollars to have it moved in its 267 pieces -- just in time for Zaza to supervise its installation and inauguration which will be "probably sometime in May or June, when we’re hopefully done playing in the playoffs," he told Grantland.
Another day, another reminder why we'll always love Zaza.