Growing up in his native country of Georgia, NBA Golden State Warriors Center Zaza Pachulia didn’t have the greatest of conditions in which to practice and train. “There were no windows, no electricity, terrible court conditions,” Pachulia told the NBPA. “My last practice [at the academy] I had a hat on, I had a sweater, long sleeves. I had to dress warm because it was so cold. Literally we were practicing like it was outside.”
Nonetheless, the Tbilisi basketball academy was a location where Pachulia learned and finetuned his skills to become a seasoned NBA center, playing with teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks before becoming an NBA champ with the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018.
Since 2004, Pachulia has hosted a free summer youth basketball camp in a different Georgia location for hundreds of children with hopes to teach the teamwork and skills it takes to become a professional athlete. Upon returning to the Tbilisi basketball academy where he once trained as a child, Pachulia noticed that the floor had never been updated. This inspired Pachulia to help the young basketball players of Georgia on an entirely new level.
After years of dedicating time and resources to youth basketball development, the Athletic Federation of Georgia gave Pachulia the opportunity to make the basketball academy his own. Pachulia gladly accepted the honor and began facility improvements to the new Zaza Pachulia Basketball Academy. It is his hope his academy will include the addition of the Milwaukee Bucks’ retired basketball court.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
When the Milwaukee Bucks chose to install a new Action Floor Systems NitroPanel® court in the Milwaukee’s BMO Harris Bradley Center, Pachulia saw the opportunity to update the Tbilisi basketball academy floor and purchased the retired court from the facility’s management corporation. As a natural team player, Pachulia used his networks to make his dream come to life, asking Action Floors for assistance to professionally disassemble and transport the floor to Georgia.
“When Zaza [Pachulia] approached us with this opportunity we immediately agreed to participate,” said Tom Abendroth, president of Action Floors Systems. “It gives the children of Tbilisi the opportunity to have the best court experience while playing the wonderful sport of basketball.”
The Bucks’ floor system consisted of 267 individual pieces that were disassembled, placed inside a 40-foot container and transported across the Atlantic Ocean on a cargo ship. Once it arrived at the docks in Europe, the floor system took another long voyage to Tbilisi, Georgia where it is anticipated it will be reinstalled.
The Action Floors team has been honored to work alongside Pachulia and donate our time and resources to support his special cause.
A System in Action
The maple hardwood court that played home to many Milwaukee Bucks games arrived at its new home in Tbilisi, Georgia. Upon installation, it will be the centerpiece of the Zaza Pachulia Basketball Academy and give kids looking to grow in the sport a place to learn, train and develop their skills.
“So many kids dream to come to the NBA arena and experience the game, and now they have the opportunity to practice on an NBA court,” Pachulia says. “It’s a legendary court where all these famous players dropped 40, 50, 60 points. All these amazing dunks and amazing games and overtimes happened there.”
Today, the Zaza Pachulia Basketball Academy is a resource for more than 700 children in Georgia. Pachulia hopes that the academy’s growth and new direction will produce more players that are someday drafted to the NBA or other professional leagues. Pachulia continues to invest in the growth of his academy. The recent purchase of an Action Quick Court floor allows for more space for the kids to practice and play.
“I wanted to give back to my community and country and give opportunities to the kids and show them how it [basketball] should be done the right way,” shared Pachulia. “Action Floors made it so much easier.”
Hear what Pachulia has to say about his donation of the Milwaukee Bucks court to his Georgian youth basketball academy, and how Action Floors supported him in his journey in our latest video.
Action Floors believes in taking action and giving back. We look for opportunities to make the world a better place through stewardship and sustainability. Learn more about our approach to philanthropy, Compassion in Action, online.