- By David FrancisDavid Francis is a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covers international finance. An award-winning journalist, David has reported from all over Europe, Nigeria, Kenya, Mexico, and Afghanistan on terrorism, national security, the geopolitics of energy, global economics, and the European financial crisis. His work has been published in outlets including the Christian Science Monitor, the Financial Times Deutschland, Slate, and SportsIllustrated.com.
The star-stocked Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night to win their second NBA championship in three years, breaking plenty of hearts in Cleveland.
But the victory brought plenty of joy elsewhere: One of the Warriors’ role players is starting center Zaza Pachulia, a 33-year-old Georgian national. His country’s prime minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, took to Twitter to celebrate.
— Giorgi Kvirikashvili (@KvirikashviliGi) June 13, 2017
Giorgi Margvelashvili, Georgia’s president, also used social media to celebrate Zaza.
— President Of Georgia (@MargvelashviliG) June 13, 2017
Margvelashvili is best known in American basketball circles for almost getting Zaza voted into this year’s NBA all-star game, also with a tweet.
— President Of Georgia (@MargvelashviliG) January 9, 2016
Zaza, whose given name is Zaur (he’s legally changed it to Zaza), is the first Georgian to win an NBA title. But while his stature in Georgia is huge, his contributions on a ridiculously talented team were modest. He averaged 5.1 points this post-season, compared to the 28.1 averaged by Curry, and the 28.5 averaged by Durant. His primary role is to set screens for Golden State’s stars.
In fact, Pachulia’s most notable accomplishment during the Finals was managing to avoid suspension for, quite blatantly, “whacking at the ball.”
Photo credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images