Zarko Paspalj Rumors
It also apparently did not help that Paspalj, a garrulous character, had seldom been asked to play defense in his career and adhered to a training regimen that included copious amounts of pizza and cigarettes. Popovich believed so strongly in Paspalj that he invited the forward to live with him. And he took Paspalj to a clinic in Boston, where a Russian doctor was supposed to be expert at curing smoking through hypnosis. Alas, the cure remained elusive. After Popovich picked up Paspalj from the doctor’s office in a taxi, he turned to give the driver directions. He then looked over to see Paspalj lighting up a cigarette.
Larry Brown, the highly respected and peripatetic coach then in San Antonio, had familiar suspicions about international players. Also, the Spurs had just drafted a forward out of Arizona named Sean Elliott. Paspalj appeared in only 28 games and averaged a meager 2.6 points in the 1989-90 season, his only one with the Spurs, and then became a celebrated player in Greece’s pro league. “Zarko could have had a 47-inch vertical jump and been the best shooter in the world, and it wasn’t going to happen because Sean Elliott was the American who had been drafted,” Popovich said.