Nuggets all-star center Nikola Jokic may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for coronavirus during a recent visit to his native Serbia. Pictures show Jokic in close proximity to Nikola Jankovic, a center for KK Partizan, during last Thursday’s exhibition game honoring coach Dejan Milojevic in Belgrade. On Monday, Jankovic’s professional team announced he had tested positive for the virus. A picture in the following tweet shows Jankovic “Janker” standing to Jokic’s right.
Bogdan Bogdanovic and his Kings and Serbian National Team teammate Nemanja Bjelica have partnered with the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation to donate medical-grade masks, ventilators and other needed supplies to hospitals in Serbia to support patients who test positive for COVID-19, those who have been exposed or at high risk.
“I feel like they need our help right now,” Bogdanovic told The Athletic. “It doesn’t matter where you donate, where you’re trying to help, I feel like the whole world needs some kind help. So it’s good to be there (to help), especially in this tough time. I’m just following the example of others I saw and I hope I will be an example for someone else.” According to the U.S. Embassy in Serbia, there are 2,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 58 deaths as of Monday. Commercial flights in and out of Serbia have been suspended indefinitely.
Bogdanovic plans to continue to monitor the happenings around the world and how he might be able to help. He also believes players can begin to look at their lives from a bigger perspective and what they might want to pursue after basketball. “I feel like everyone should see what is going on and what it might be like when you’re retired,” Bogdanovic said. “That’s what you can learn from this situation, and follow the rules that the government is giving us, the World Health Organization as well, for this pandemic to go away as quickly as it can.”
James Ham: Bogdanovic, Bjelica and Vlade and Ana Divac donate medical supplies to Serbia during the coronavirus epidemic. pic.twitter.com/gs8Deilswt
With NBA and EuroLeague players missing, but also Sacramento Kings assistant Igor Kokoskov making his debut in the Serbian national team bench and Toronto Raptors‘ Sergio Scariolo returning for a few days in the old continent in order to coach Spain once again, the Eurobasket 2021 qualifiers started with the favorites prevailing. Spain got the road win in Romania (84-71) and Serbia did the same in Finland (80-58) behind 19 points by Miroslav Raduljica.
Serbia coach Igor Kokoskov talked about Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone potentially joining the national team’s staff in the future. Kokoskov said that it was Malone who offered to become a part of the team during a congratulatory phone call after he was named the new head coach of the “Orlovi.” “What I can say is that from our side, we did everything to be professional and transparent,” Kokoskov said in the press conference ahead of the EuroBasket Qualifiers games of Serbia vs. Finland and Georgia. “When that idea came up, we were there to welcome him. After my appointment, I got a call with his [Malone’s] congratulations and his proposal to join us. That was one very nice [form of] congratulations to me. If not recognition.”