Nikola Jokic Rumors

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#15
Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic
Position: C
Born: 02/19/95
Height: 6-11 / 2.11
Weight:253 lbs. / 114.8 kg.
Salary: $25,467,250
Sasa Djordjevic on Milos Teodosic, Boban Marjanovic and Nikola Jokic not playing for Serbia: “As the windows pile up, the less of us there are. I was optimistic in front of this window, when I put up the preliminary list, hoping the big names will be here, that they’ll receive permission from their clubs, that they won’t have any problems. But, unfortunately, some cancelled, some had to listen to their club’s opinion.”
What I found at this intersection of faith, hoops and community of roughly 1,000 Serbians in the greater Denver area is a lens through which Jokic is seen as more than a basketball player. For some, he’s become something of a bridge between the country they left behind but still cherish and the version of an American dream they are pursuing. “My son’s name is Nikola,” says Jeff Mitrovic, an executive at a hospitality company in Denver. “The name Nikola is important to Serbs because of St. Nicholas, a very important saint in the Orthodox Church. Most people have no idea. They say, ‘Is that a girl’s name? What does it mean?’ For me, having somebody like that with the same name here in Denver, now all of my son’s friends know how to say his name. They say, ‘Oh, you’re just like Nikola Jokic. We get it.’ It’s kind of cool that way. It brings recognition to what Serbians are about.”
During his first trip to Serbia (he went back again this summer), Malone was walking through Kalemegdan, a park built around a historical fort that features some of the city’s very first basketball courts. It’s where some of the country’s top clubs, like Partizan, were founded near the end of World War II. Malone was touring the area with Ognjen Stojakovic, a player development coach for the Nuggets who is from Belgrade. “And all of a sudden this couple comes up to me with their baby and says, ‘Will you take a picture with our baby? We love the Nuggets; we love Nikola; we love you,’ ” Malone recalls. “I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is crazy.’ That happens quite frequently anytime I’m there. That speaks to their love of the game of basketball, but it also speaks to their love of Nikola. They only know me because of Nikola, and I understand that. They don’t recognize me because I’m Pat Riley. They recognize me because I’m Nikola’s coach.”
Storyline: Jokic-Malone Dynamic
Malone got a closer look at Jokic’s hobby than he bargained for during his most recent visit to Sombor. It’s a well-documented tale that, on the day Malone arrived in Serbia last summer, Dreamcatcher won his first race, leading to a night of celebratory toasts led by Nemanja and Strajinha. But Malone got a more personal race-horsing experience this time around. “We go to the track and I’m thinking I’m just going to watch the trainer work the horse out,” Malone says. “The next thing you know the trainer stops the horse, gets out of the carriage and says, ‘OK, Coach, you get in.’ I’m from New York City. I’ve never ridden a horse before. So I go around the first time and Nikola and his trainer are both yelling, ‘Coach, slow down! You’re going too fast!’ I come around the second lap and they’re yelling, ‘Coach, you’re going too fast!’ I was just having fun with it. “That’s his getaway, man. He loves it.”
Jovica Antonic, who is the assistant of Serbia’s head coach, Sasa Djordjevic, talked to the Serbian newspaper “Novosti” and confirmed that Nikola Jokic will not play for the national team in the World Cup Qualifiers in September. “We cannot count on Nikola Jokic to join us for the Qualifiers. However, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica will be available for both matches,” Antonic said.
Storyline: World Cup
Nikola Jokic, along with many Serbian basketball stars and players, appeared in the The Basketball Without Borders (BWB) camp in Belgrade and spoke with the media about joining the national team, his preparation ahead of the new season and more. Here is what the Denver Nuggets center said, per Basketball Sphere: On playing for the National Team in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers in September: “I wouldn’t talk about that. Next question.”