Here are 20 interesting facts about Nikola Jokic
- He is the first player to ever have 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in a single season. He achieved this remarkable feat in the 2022-23 season with the Denver Nuggets.
- He is a two-time Kia MVP and led the Nuggets to their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history. He averaged 28.4 points, 11.6 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game in the regular season and 30.7 points, 12.9 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game in the playoffs.
- He was discovered by a famous basketball manager through a box score in a newspaper. Miodrag ‘Misko’ Raznatovi noticed his potential when he was playing for a small club in Serbia and signed him to his agency.
- He became a professional basketball player at the age of 17. He left his home to join KK Mega Basket, a Serbian team that has produced several NBA players.
- He was drafted during a Taco Bell commercial. The Nuggets selected him with the 41st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but his name was not announced on TV as the broadcast cut to a commercial break.
- He used to drink three liters of Coke every day before practice. He quit his soda addiction when he flew to Denver to join the Nuggets in 2015.
- He once missed a week of practice and a couple of games overseas due to inflammation in his right hand. The cause of his injury was signing too many autographs for fans.
- He almost withdrew his name from the 2014 NBA Draft. His agent tweeted that he would play another year for Mega Vizura, but changed his mind after the Nuggets promised to pick him at No. 41.
- He almost skipped the NBA again in 2015. He had a deal in place with Barcelona, a Spanish basketball club, but it fell through after he played poorly in front of their representatives.
- He loves horses and has owned several racing horses. He developed a passion for horses as a child and once quit basketball to attend a chariot horse race.
- He did not watch much NBA growing up. His only window into the league was YouTube, where he watched highlights of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and other greats.
- He is married to his childhood sweetheart Natalija Macesic. They tied the knot in October 2020 after dating for eight years.
- He has two older brothers who are very protective of him. Strahinja and Nemanja Jokic are both former basketball players who often attend Nikola’s games and cheer him on.
- He is nicknamed “The Joker” for his surname and his playful personality. He likes to crack jokes with his teammates, coaches and media members.
- He is one of the best passers in NBA history. He holds the record for the most triple-doubles by a center with 65 and has averaged over six assists per game for four consecutive seasons.
- He is also one of the most efficient scorers in NBA history. He has a career field goal percentage of 53.3%, a career 3-point percentage of 36.8% and a career free throw percentage of 83.4%.
- He is very durable and rarely misses games. He played all 72 games in the regular season and all 18 games in the playoffs in 2022-23. He has only missed 20 games in his seven-year career.
- He is very humble and does not like to brag about himself. He often credits his teammates, coaches and fans for his success and deflects praise from himself.
19. He is very popular in his home country of Serbia. He has received support from many Serbian celebrities, athletes and politicians, including Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic and Aleksandar Vucic.
20. He is very charitable and generous with his money. He has donated to various causes, such as helping children with disabilities, supporting animal shelters and providing medical equipment for hospitals.
Top 10 Serbian NBA Players of All Time
Serbia has produced many talented basketball players who have played in the NBA, the most prestigious league in the world. Some of them have won championships, awards, and recognition for their skills and achievements. Here is a list of the top 10 Serbian NBA players of all time, based on their statistics, honors, and impact on the game.
- Nikola Jokić: The current star of the Denver Nuggets and the reigning NBA MVP for two consecutive seasons (2021 and 2022), Jokić is arguably the best Serbian player ever and one of the best centers in NBA history. He is a versatile and dominant player who can score, rebound, pass, and defend at a high level. He has led the Nuggets to the conference finals twice (2020 and 2023) and has earned six All-Star selections, four All-NBA selections, and several other individual awards. He holds the record for most triple-doubles by a center in NBA history with 66 as of May 2023.
- Vlade Divac: A Hall of Famer and one of the pioneers of European basketball in the NBA, Divac played for 16 seasons with three teams: the Los Angeles Lakers, the Charlotte Hornets, and the Sacramento Kings. He was a skilled and smart center who could pass, shoot, and rebound well. He was an All-Star in 2001 and a key member of the Kings team that contended for the title in the early 2000s. He also won a silver medal with Yugoslavia at the 1988 Olympics.
- Predrag “Peja” Stojaković: A sharpshooting forward who could light up the scoreboard with his three-pointers, Stojaković played for 13 seasons with five teams: the Sacramento Kings, the Indiana Pacers, the New Orleans Hornets, the Toronto Raptors, and the Dallas Mavericks. He was a three-time All-Star, a two-time All-NBA selection, and a three-time three-point contest champion. He won his only NBA championship with the Mavericks in 2011 as a valuable role player.
- Darko Miličić: Despite being widely considered as one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history, Miličić still deserves a spot on this list for being the first Serbian player to win an NBA championship. He was drafted second overall by the Detroit Pistons in 2003, ahead of future stars like Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. However, he never lived up to his potential and played sparingly for six teams in 10 seasons. He won his ring with the Pistons in 2004 as a rookie.
- Bogdan Bogdanović: A talented and versatile guard who can play both positions, Bogdanović is currently playing for the Atlanta Hawks after spending his first three seasons with the Sacramento Kings. He is a reliable scorer, shooter, passer, and defender who can fit in any system. He has averaged 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game in his career so far. He also won a silver medal with Serbia at the 2016 Olympics.
- Boban Marjanović: A fan favorite and a gentle giant, Marjanović is one of the tallest players in NBA history at 7’4″. He is currently playing for his sixth team, the Houston Rockets, after stints with the San Antonio Spurs, the Detroit Pistons, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Dallas Mavericks. He is a dominant force in the paint who can score and rebound efficiently when given minutes. He has averaged 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game in his career so far.
- Nemanja Bjelica: A stretch four who can shoot from beyond the arc and play multiple positions, Bjelica is currently playing for his fourth team, the Golden State Warriors, after playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Sacramento Kings, and the Miami Heat. He is a valuable role player who can space the floor and contribute in various ways. He has averaged 7.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in his career so far. He also won a silver medal with Serbia at the 2016 Olympics.
- Vladimir Radmanović: A long and athletic forward who could shoot the three and run the floor, Radmanović played for 12 seasons with seven teams: the Seattle SuperSonics, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Charlotte Bobcats, the Golden State Warriors, the Atlanta Hawks, and the Chicago Bulls. He was a solid role player who could provide scoring and spacing off the bench. He averaged 8.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in his career.
- Željko Rebrača: A strong and skilled center who could score in the post and block shots, Rebrača played for six seasons with three teams: the Detroit Pistons, the Atlanta Hawks, and the Los Angeles Clippers. He was a backup big man who could provide energy and defense when needed. He averaged 6.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in his career. He also won a gold medal with Yugoslavia at the 1998 FIBA World Championship.
- Aleksandar “Sasha” Pavlović: A defensive-minded wing who could also hit the three, Pavlović played for 10 seasons with seven teams: the Utah Jazz, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Dallas Mavericks, the New Orleans Hornets, the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Boston Celtics. He was a starter for the Cavaliers team that reached the NBA Finals in 2007 and a role player for the Celtics team that reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012. He averaged 4.9 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in his career.