“I didn’t get the respect I deserved!": Former Top 5 Draft Pick Blasts League

Former No. 5 overall pick Mario Hezonja has vowed never to return to the NBA, claiming “I didn’t get the respect I deserved.”

The Croatian forward played 5 years in the NBA, last seen with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2020. Hezonja is currently playing for UNICS Kazan in Russia, and told Eurohoops.net“There was a lot I didn’t like there... Also, in my opinion, the NBA is more a show than the game itself.” As for Hezonja, however, he never did put on much of a 'show' in the NBA himself, averaging only 6.9 points in his career.

The 27-year-old is a former first-round pick—No. 5 overall in 2015 out of FC Barcelona—by the Orlando Magic. He played three seasons there, never living up to his potential, averaging 6.9 points and 3.1 rebounds. He then spent a year with the Knicks and one with Portland, where he didn't fare much better. The Blazers traded him to the Grizzlies after the 2019-20 season, who then released him.

From there, Hezonja returned to Europe, where he played for Panathinaikos in Greece in the 2020-21 season, before signing with UNICS in Russia last summer.

Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports