By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Playing in 335 NBA games between the Orlando Magic, New York Knicks, and Portland Trail Blazers will be it for Mario Hezonja. The UNICS Kazan small forward ruled out a return to the NBA talking to Russian outlet Tatar-inform.
“No,” he said on seeking a potential return to the NBA, “There was a lot I didn’t like there.”
Hezonja, 27, was selected with the fifth overall pick of the 2015 NBA draft by the Magic. Only 20, from Catalonia giant FC Barcelona to Orlando, he moved his talents to the NBA. “I don’t think it was too early,” he noted.
After spending three seasons with his first NBA team, he signed a one-year contract with the Knicks. Back in free agency in 2019, he inked a two-year deal with the Blazers but was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies early in the 2020-21 season and waived in December.
“I am not going to return to the NBA,” he repeated, “I didn’t get the respect I deserved. Also, in my opinion, the NBA is more a show than the game itself.”
The Croatian international instead intends to keep practicing and preparing for the next season in the USA during the summer. His experience wasn’t all that bad, he pointed out.
“I learned to take better care of my body. I created myself as a player,” he added, “Everything that happened led me to become who I am today.”
Hezonja joined Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos late in the 2020-21 season and last summer moved to UNICS.
Photo Credit: EuroLeagueBasketball.net