Zaza Pachulia is a Turkish-Georgian professional basketball player who currently plays as a center for the Golden State Warriors, with whom he won his first NBA championship. He received the Order of Honour from the President of his country, Giorgi Margvelashvili, when he returned with the Larry O’Brien Trophy in August 2017.
The 6-foot tall man is considered a villain in the NBA by fans and was nicknamed “Zaza Per Cheat Shot” by popular NBA analyst Skip Bayless due to the increased number of questionable incidents that resulted in his opponents being injured in matches. His victims include Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard.
Zaza Pachulia was born on 10 February 1984 in Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union. He started playing basketball at a very early age, probably because he was always the greatest among all his friends and seemed to fit very well with his physical characteristics. It is reported that Zaza was about 1.80 m tall at the age of 13.
At the age of 15, Zaza left his home republic of Georgia to go to Turkey and pursue a career in basketball. By that time he had already legally changed his name from Zaur to Zaza. He had also been a member of the Georgian national junior basketball team, where he was extensively scouted by the Turkish professional team Ülkerspor, which he joined as a teenager and for which he performed like a star.
In the four years he spent in Turkey, Zaza played a total of 73 matches for his team and won three titles: the Turkish President’s Cup in 2001 and 2002 and the Turkish National Championship in 2001. During this time the teenager averaged 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
Zaza Pachulia was then picked up by the Orlando Magic in the second round of the 2003 NBA draft with the 42nd place, and the Charlotte Bobcats then selected him in the 2004 expansion draft before they traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks. During his time with the Bucks, Pachulia played a key role from the substitutes’ bench with an average of 6.2 points and 5.1 rebounds.
In the 2005 post-season, Pachulia signed a contract with the Atlanta Hawks to become the teams’ starting point. He played a total of 78 games this year and was very effective on the court with his offensive rebounds, finishing third in the NBA for offensive rebounds per game and fifth overall for offensive rebounds. His aggressiveness made him popular with Hawks fans, especially after he clashed with the future Hall of Famer and then Celtics star Kevin Garnett.
Pachulia played for the Hawks for 8 years before returning to Milwaukee. During this time, however, the Turkish national played for Galatasaray of the Turkish Basketball League during the 2011 NBA lockout.
In 2015 the Bucks traded him for the Dallas Mavericks. In Dallas, Pachulia had his first All-Star appearance in the 2016 NBA All-Star Game and was such a favorite that he narrowly missed out on being in the top five. In the same year, in a single season, he managed 22 double-doubles in his career.
The following year he signed up for the Golden State Warriors, where he won his first NBA championship. On the way there, however, he injured Kawhi Leonard during the first game of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, which led to his disqualification for the season and the Spurs’ disdain for their tremendous leadership in the game before being swept up in the series.
Another incident occurred in a regular-season match against Oklahoma City Thunder when Zaza fell to Russell Westbrook’s knee after a game. The replays showed that the big man may have been intentionally clumsy, prompting Westbrook to declare that he believed Zaza was trying to hurt him.
Zaza Pachulia’s Salary and Net Worth
Zaza Pachulia currently earns an annual salary of $3,477,600 with the Golden State Warriors. His net worth is estimated at around $13 million, and it is expected to increase by about 100 percent in the coming year thanks to the NBA’s growing popularity around the world.
He is also a serious entrepreneur and has even taken Executive Business Classes at Harvard Business School, Georgia State, and Northwestern University.
Family; Wife and Kids
Zaza Pachulia is married to his wife Tika, with whom he has three children: two sons (Davit and Saba) and a daughter (Mariam). The family owns a house in Atlanta, Georgia, where she has lived since 2011.
Height, Weight and Other Facts
Birth Name: Zaza Pachulia
Date of Birth: February 10, 1984
Place of Birth: Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
Height: 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Weight: 270 lb (122 kg)
Shoe Size: 17 US
Favorite Music: Hip-Hop (Jay-Z and 50 Cent)
Favorite Meal: Steak and Pasta