When you buy through links on the site, I may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more here
Part of the fun of organizing my trading cards, was flipping through them and seem some names from the past. There are a lot of nostalgic players you remember from your childhood and then there are some players you need to do a quick internet search on (and some basketball reference digs). I’d like to focus on a little bit of both here. Some come along and stroll down memory lane and learn some NBA history.
This was a card as soon as I found it, I was like who is this? It was not a name I’d recognized so had to do some digging. Žarko Paspalj is from Serbia and was part of the early wave of European players to come to the NBA. He signed with the Spurs after going undrafted in the 1988 NBA Draft. He played one NBA season in 1989-1990 and the 1990-1991 Skybox Series 1 card seems to be the only trading card he appeared on.
Coming in to the league at 24 years, he’d had already been 7 years in to his professional career. Žarko went to a San Antonio team that already had their Small Forward in Sean Elliot and a Rookie David Robinsons (#1 Overall pick in the 1987 Draft). Playing in just 28 games (starting 1), but averaged just 6.5 minutes per game with a career high of 13 points scored. So with that small sample size there isn’t much to really take away out of his stats. When you boost it to per 36 minutes you’d be getting yourself a Small Forward averaging 14.3 points and 6 rebounds a game.
After leaving the NBA headed back to Europe where he ended up playing until 1998. He won Euroleague Final 4 MVP in 1994. Along the way he also won 2 Olympic Silver Medals in 1988 and 1996. The game is so much more international now, it would be interesting to see what it would have been like if he’d gotten a better chance to showcase his skills in the NBA.]