Pachulia: We’ll Soon Have More Georgian Players in the NBA

The Georgian NBA champion Zaza Pachulia is aiming for another ring with the Golden State Warriors and is confident that Georgia will produce more NBA-caliber players soon.

How do you see the accomplishment of winning the NBA last season?

You’re 13 or 14 years old, you’re playing basketball and you dream about this moment regardless of where you’re coming from. Then, during the NBA season, you work hard, you put in a lot of time, and at the end of the season all that effort pays off. Winning the NBA title is a great feeling and an amazing experience. But then you move on and want another one. So, I’m enjoying the moment but at the same time I’m working hard for another ring.

You devote time and resources to developing basketball in Georgia through your Academy. How is the project doing?

It’s progressing. We’re providing the kids with the right atmosphere, great coaching and good facilities, so they have everything they need to succeed. We have around 700 players and they are spending a lot of time working on the court. They’re really enjoying it. So hopefully, in a couple of years, we’ll have more players from Georgia in the NBA.

In the European Qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Georgia is third in its group and will probably pass to the next round

Having qualifying games during the season is part of the new format. The national team has a lot of new faces. It’s good to see these young players having opportunities. I think it’s good for the country. The other teams are going through a similar experience. Unfortunately, we had some injuries. But the team is fighting and playing hard. What else can you ask for?

You received the Order of Honor from Georgia which highlights the importance of role models in society

It’s a huge honor to carry the Order. It means that there is appreciation for something that you have done for the country. I’m thankful to President Margvelashvili for nominating me. But the Order comes with responsibility. You have to be a role model, especially for kids and youth. The Order also motivates you to keep doing your best representing the country.

After 15 years in the United States, what do you miss the most from Georgia?

Friends and family. After so many years, you get used to living apart from them, but I try to keep the relationships as close as possible. I spend my summers in Georgia and they come over here to visit me in the US.

Exclusive Interview for GT by Alfonso Aramendia in Washington

15 March 2018 18:48