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Nuggets star Nikola Jokic is a big horse guy

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets, Horse

Nikola Jokic has proved to be quite a peculiar NBA star, from having family pickup games at a public park in his native Serbia in the summer to drinking boatloads of Coke on the daily. Yet not many would peg the 7-foot Denver Nuggets star as a big horse guy.

Big as an ox and strong just like one, Jokic has a softer side for the equine — finding his inner peace among these majestic animals while he destroys opponents with a mix of power and finesse.

“Right now in Serbia and Hungary, where I follow horses and my friends, they are starting to race, and I follow it a lot,” Jokic said two days before the NBA season came to a halt amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic.

The Nuggets star can still recall when he first picked up his liking for horses:

“I was probably 12 or 13 when I got into it — around there,” said Jokic “My dad took me to a horse race in our city. We went to the race and I said, ‘I kinda like this.’”

The Nuggets big man soon discovered that one of his youth basketball teammates’ dad trained racehorses. So, Jokic’s father brought him to get a close-up look:

“And I just fell in love with the horses,” said Jokic.

“I just enjoy being around them and seeing their different characteristics. You get to see when they work out that they are basically like us. They are athletes, sprinters. They are magnificent creatures.”

Jokic was the horse the Nuggets rode on their way to the playoffs last year, mustering the second seed in the Western Conference. Denver was on a similar track at third in the West before the season was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic that threatens the world.

There’s no telling if the Nuggets will be able to get back on the horse at all this season, with plenty of uncertainty about the 2019-20 season resuming at some point. All that’s left is for Jokic to keep his hooves ready if the Nuggets are to make a postseason push.