The Yugoslavian Giant

Published by Axel on 29th October - 12:00 (CET)
Of all the monster-sized men that have walked the NBA courts, Boban Marjanović is one of the tallest. Standing 7 feet and 4 inches tall he is currently the tallest active player in the NBA, more than an inch taller than both Kristaps Porziņģis and Walter Tavares who place second and third. There are only twelve players in history who've been taller than Marjanović. Four of those players didn't even play a full season and Yao Ming and Ralph Sampson are the only players who ever gained an All-Star nod.

For a while he had the company of 7'5" Sim Bhullar, another of King Kong's cousins and the first Indian player to ever get drafted to the NBA. But it didn't last long. As most players of Bhullar's size, he only lasted a few games in the NBA before being sent to the Raptors 905 of the D-League and eventually going all the way to Taiwan to play for the Dacin Tigers.

That's why the expectations on Boban were quite low relative to his accomplishments when he signed with the Spurs in July, 2015. In Europe he played for 8 different teams. Mostly in his native Serbia but also in Russia and Lithuania.

In 2011 he won the LKF Cup and the LKL Championship while becoming an LKL All-Star in Lithuania. He won the Baltic League championship the very same year. In 2013 he won the the Serbian Super League MVP award, something he repeated both in 2014 and 2015. This while also winning the ABA League title, the Serbian League title and the Serbian Cup, twice. During those years Marjanović got selected to the All-ABA League Team twice and got awarded as the 2015 ABA League playoffs MVP. 2015 was an even better year for the Serbian giant as he also led the Euroleague in rebounds and performance index rating, enough to earn him a spot on the All-Euroleague First Team.

After taking some time adjusting to the NBA game and a quick week-long tour to the Austin Spurs of the D-League, Marjanović started to show some real promise. On December 30, 2015, in a game against the Suns, he became the first player in Spurs franchise history to grab 12 rebounds in less than 15 minutes.
Over the season Boban played 54 games, averaging 5.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.2 steals and 0.4 blocks in just 9.4 minutes per game.

As most of those experimental Frankenstein-players Boban was only signed to a modest one-year contract, but he still had the intentions to stay with the Spurs as the summer came around, and he probably would have if it wasn't for the great Gregg Popovich, who at one point sat down with Boban to explain something important.

"He’s such a good kid, at some point I had to work to get him to understand that $21 million was different than $3 million. I said, ‘Get your ass out of here. Go. You’ve got to do it.’ But he felt bad.

We knew he was gone. It happens to every team. You lose a guy because you have to pay people and you can’t pay them all.”

Marjanović eventually signed a three-year $21 million contract with the Pistons, so we can expect to see much more of this guy in the upcoming years. So can Tyler Hansbrough and Joel Embiid...

Boban Marjanovic scares 'Psycho T' to death by switching to him

Hey Joel, welcome to the NBA

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