Georgian-born Zaza Pachulia is a professional basketball player who plays for the Golden State Warriors. He was drafted by Orlando Magic in the second round of the 2003 NBA draft and has played for several other teams before joining the Warriors in December 2016. Although he is not one of the biggest stars in basketball, he won his first NBA Championship with the Warriors in 2017.
Based on his style of play, Zaza was given the nickname ‘Zaza Per Cheat Shot’ by the notable NBA Analyst Skip Bayless following his numerous encounters which left his opponents badly hurt. For his outstanding performance at the NBA Finals in 2017, Zaza received the Order of Honor from the Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili. Learn more about Zaza in these facts below.
Zaza Pachulia – All the Facts You Need to Know
- His Early Life, Bio
Warriors star Zaza Pachulia was born in Tbilisi, Georgia on February 10, 1984. Born as Zaur Pachulia, he legally changed his name to Zaza when he was 15. Being very tall with a great physique, Zaza started playing basketball at a very tender age and by the time he was 13, his height was approximately 6 feet 8 inches which paved the way for him to play at the top level. At 15, the young scout joined the Georgian National Basketball Team and was also recruited to play internationally by the Turkish professional team called Ulkerspor.
While at Ulkerspor, Zaza distinguished himself as one of the top players in the team, finishing his four-year career averaging 6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Additionally, he played 73 games for Ulkerspor out of which he won three league titles. He also won the 2001 Turkish National Championship and two Turkish President’s Cup in 2001 and 2002 respectively.
- NBA Career
Following an impressive amateur career, Zaza Pachulia was the 42nd overall pick by Orlando Magic in the second round of the 2003 NBA draft. The following year, he was picked by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2004 expansion draft after which he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. During the 2004/05 season, he played off the bench and finished the season averaging 6.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
In 2005, Zaza signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Hawks where he played as the team’s starting centre. He ended the 2005/06 season with an average of 11.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 78 game plays. The next season, he started a few games but later played off the bench. In one of their games against Celtics, Zaza had a fight with Celtic star Kevin Garnett which led a sports writer to tag him Pachulia Balboa after the lead character in the series titled Rocky. He extended his stay with the Hawks in 2009 after agreeing to a multi-year contract.
Zaza signed up with Galatasaray of the Turkish league during the 2011 NBA lockout. There, he played for a few months before returning to the Hawks in December of the same year. After an impressive eight-year career with the Atlanta Hawks, Zaza joined Milwaukee Bucks as a free agent in 2013. He created the season high and a franchise record in 2015, averaging 21 rebounds out of which 18 are offensive rebounds. In the same year, Zaza Pachulia was traded to the Dallas Mavericks where he made a significant improvement. He recorded his 10th, 16th, 20th and 22nd double-double in the 2015/16 season, finishing the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds. His outstanding record earned him a spot on the West NBA All-Star game in 2016.
- NBA Championship with the Golden State Warriors
He joined the Golden State Warriors in July 2016, helping the team to finish the 2016/17 season with 67 wins. He recorded his season-best game against Brooklyn Nets with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Following his encounter with Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard which ruled him out for the rest of the San Antonio Season, Zaza was labelled a villain by NBA fans as well as the media. He made history in 2017, becoming the first Georgian player to win an NBA Championship. He played alongside Stephen Curry, JaVale McGee, Klay Thompson as the Warriors defeated LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1 to win the 2017 NBA Championship. After the championship, Zaza got a contract extension with the Warriors on July 25, 2017.
Additionally, he appeared in 70 games for the Warriors, averaging 6.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists in 18.1 minutes per game and career best-shooting of 53.4% from the field. Zaza Pachulia is placed sixth among the active players in offensive rebounds in the NBA and 64th All-time. He recorded over 70% of his free throw attempts in 12 out of his 14 NBA Seasons.
- Zaza Pachulia’s Salary Earnings and Net Worth
Pachulia has been outstanding since the inception of his career; he has played for five NBA franchises and has amassed huge wealth for himself. Zaza currently has a whopping net worth of $13 million with an annual salary of $3,477,600 with the Warriors. He established a basketball academy in his hometown Tbilisi and organizes free annual basketball camps for children in Georgia.
Who is Zaza Pachulia’s Wife (Tika Pachulia)?
In addition to his successful basketball career, Zaza is also successful in his love life. He got hitched to his long-term girlfriend Tika Pachulia in 2008. The amazing couple was blessed with two sons named Davit and Saba Pachulia, as well as, a daughter named Mariam. There’s not much information about his wife Tika as she came into the limelight following her marriage to the NBA Star. Zaza spends his free time with his wife and kids in their home in Atlanta. Additionally, he owns a restaurant called Buckhead Bottle Bar which serves French-style bistro in Atlanta.