While we wait to see if the Golden State Warriors will get invited to the White House, the people of Zaza Pachulia’s homeland of Georgia wasted no time in honoring their National hero. It’s fitting, really. I was just going to write an update about this, but since it’s the offseason, I would like to also take this opportunity to foster a little attention on one of the more overlooked superstars of the NBA.
The Zaza Pachulia rule
I’m probably not alone in that I first learned about Pachulia’s popularity due to the All-Star voting - where he has been so absurdly popular that it forced the NBA to restructure the All-Star selection process. Pachulia would’ve been named a starter in the 2016-17 All-Star game without the structural changes, as the number of fans voting for him was strong enough to bump out Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins, among many others - last year he beat Draymond Green.
Like many other aspects of his life, Pachulia takes a lot of pride in being able to represent an entire country. And this unifying force that he has become works both ways, as he serves as a role model for them, he’s also leaning on them as a source of pride and motivation.
"Georgia is a very small country, compared to the U.S., only 3.5 million people, but a lot of basketball...Basketball is in our DNA. It's been here for years, for years and years and generations. We have pretty successful players throughout history. Basketball's definitely a very important Georgian sport."
So it should come as no surprise then that his country rallied around him and offered him the medal. Larry came along for the ride as well, as you can see:
About that medal: in the United States, it’s something of a tradition for the championship team to have a visit to the White House where they take a few photos and give the President a token jersey. That probably isn’t going to happen this year for the Warriors, for myriad reasons. Pachulia’s homeland did us one better by granting their favorite son the Order of Honor, for “outstanding personal contribution to the building of the independent government.”
When he signed with the Warriors, I really only had the vaguest notion of Pachulia as a basketball player. Fundamentally sound big man who plays physical - if well-grounded - defense. But he’s more than that. All these NBA players seem like pretty cool guys. They’re rich, famous (to varying degrees), and get to hang out and play basketball for a living. When I think of the “coolest” players, it used to be the Steph Curry and Kevin Durants of the league that came to mind.
Who else has their own website? If you haven’t been to zazapachulia.com, then I don’t know that you can properly appreciate the man. I mean...
He may not be the most fleet of foot, but Pachulia makes up for it in spades with his style.
მაშინ როდესაც ავღნიშნავ ჩემს კარიერაში ყველაზე მნიშვნელოვან მიღწევას, მოხარული ვარ განვაცხადო ჩემი გალფ ჯორჯიასთან პარტნიორული ურთიერთობის დაწყების შესახებ, რომელიც დაფუძნებულია ნდობაზე, ხარისხზე და მომავალზე ორიენტირებულ საერთო ხედვაზე. ჩემი და გალფის პარტნიორობა ითვალისწინებს საქართველოში საკალათბურთო პროგრამების განვითარებას, რომელიც საშუალებას მისცემს ასობით ბავშვს მისდიონ სპორტს და ჰქონდეთ ნათელი მომავალი. გალფთან ერთად, მინდა ახალგაზრდა თაობებს მოვუწოდო იცხოვრონ ჯანსაღი ცხოვრების წესით, აირჩიონ სპორტის გზა, რომელმაც მე პირადად აქამდე მომიყვანა - სპორტში კი მთავარია შრომისადმი უსაზღვრო სიყვარული, თავდადება და წინსვლისაკენ სწრაფვა. მე ვენდობი გალფს - ვენდობი ხარისხში, ვენდობი იმ ბევრ კარგ საქმეში, რასაც კომპანია აკეთებს და ვენდობი ჩვენს საერთო ხედვაში, რომელიც მომავალ თაობებს უკავშირდება! გალფთან ერთად ბევრი კარგი გეგმა მაქვს! #ZazaForGulf #მევენდობიგალფს #zazapachuliabasketballacademy As I celebrate the most significant moment of my career, I am delighted to announce my partnership with Gulf Georgia which is based on trust, quality and shared vision for future. Our partnership envisions development of youth basketball program in Georgia that will enable hundreds of kids to stay active and maintain bright outlook for the future. I encourage our youth to lead a healthy lifestyle, play sports and stay committed and driven towards success. I trust Gulf, trust its quality and many good things company is doing for people and we share a common vision for future generations! We have many good plans for the future!
This is a man who is beloved by his entire Country, is clearly setting the fashion world on fire, and most importantly - a man who will be starting at center when the Warriors take to the court in 63 days to begin the defense of their Championship trophy.
And through it all, he will remain a hero to Georgia - and a whole lot of others around the world, too.