Disruption helps us grow, stretching and developing us in ways that comfort cannot. Our guest this episode, Zaza Pachulia, is a great example of this truth. He is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former professional basketball player. Born in Georgia, when it was still part of the U.S.S.R., Zaza moved to Turkey to play basketball when he was just 14. A year later, he made the Turkish national team and became one of the youngest players ever in the Euro League. And at 19, he was drafted into the NBA.
Zaza played for Orlando Magic, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Atlanta Hawks, the Dallas Mavericks, the Golden State Warriors, and the Detroit Pistons. He was with the Warriors in 2017, 2018, when they won back to back NBA championships.
In addition to his experience as a professional athlete, he owns two hotels in his hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia, the nation's capital. He's a partner and brand ambassador for Crosti, an athletic shoe company, he's the partner of a real estate development firm, and runs the Zaza Pachulia Basketball Academy in Tbilisi for nearly a 1,000 young people from the ages of 5 to 20.
In 2019, Zaza retired from playing basketball and is now exploring the business side of the Warriors organization, searching for his next learning curve leap.
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Takeaways from this episode:
- Hard work always pays off.
- It may not pay off in the way you expected, but no matter what, hard work always pays off. It will develop you. It will make you better.
- Mentors matter.
- Zaza learned the value of mentors early on. These meaningful relationships helped undergird his career with stability and direction. This allowed him to draw on the wisdom and experience of those who had come before him.
- Sometimes, leaving your comfort zone is the best thing for you – and your growth trajectory.
- By Zaza’s own estimation, he became a better teammate in and through the disruption of leaving Atlanta. The jump exposed him to new players and new approaches to the game.
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