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Warriors’ Championship Cheers Hearts in Faraway Georgia

Warriors’ Championship Cheers Hearts in Faraway Georgia

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 Margvelashvili, Georgia’s president, also used social media to celebrate Zaza.

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.

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