Ivica Zubac opens up on Balkan crew hangout with Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic
A photo of a number of NBA players from the Balkan region in Europe recently made its rounds on the internet. It was a great sight to see the likes of Los Angeles Clippers big man Ivica Zubac having dinner with his fellow European players such as Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic.
Zubac recently opened up about that experience, as the 23-year-old from Crotia expressed how his relationship with these guys has helped with homesickness inside the bubble:
“But I was able to get dinner with Nikola Jokic (Nuggets), Luka Doncic and Boban Marjanovic (Dallas Mavericks) and Goran Dragic (Miami Heat) — all the guys from the Balkans,” Ivica Zubac said, via Mark Medina of USA TODAY Sports. “It was good. It definitely helps since there is no family here. It was something to get your mind off of basketball and stuff.”
Then again, Zubac made it clear that the dinner took place during a lull in the bubble schedule:
“That happened while there were no games,” he added. “But now that the games are back, we’re not doing that stuff. We’re not doing that when we’re playing against each other in a playoff series.”
Ivica Zubac’s Clippers faced off against Doncic, Boban and the Mavs in the first round, so that would have been a little bit awkward if they had dinner right smack in the middle of the highly competitive series.
Zubac also added that it was a welcome change to be able to speak in his native tongue:
“Speaking with people in your own language is enough of a highlight for me,” said Zubac. “Wherever I go, I have to speak English, which is my second language. So whenever you get a chance to speak in your own language? It feels good.”
The 7-foot big man has been a key cog for the Clippers in the playoffs. Ivica Zubac had a number of impressive outings in the first round against the Mavs, including that 15-point, 11-rebound double-double in the closeout contest in Game 6. More of the same is expected of the young big man the rest of the way.