Nikola Jokic is the NBA’s 2020-21 Most Valuable Player. He’s leading the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals against the Phoenix Suns. In an alternate reality, though, he’s having the time of his life racing horses.
Pause for a second.
That’s right. Jokic is leading the big men’s return to relevance but there was a time when he’d rather see his stallion leading the race to the finish line.
Via Vic Lombardi of AltitudeTV:
“I quit when I was 12 or 14. I quit for like six months. I just wanted to race horses. But my dad convinced me to play again. I returned for one game but I told the coach I had to leave at halftime for another horse race.”
Unlike physical freaks such as LeBron James and Zion Williamson, Jokic wasn’t gifted with traits that would make scouts take the next flight to Serbia for a first look at the then-youngster. A throwback picture with this family featuring all of Jokic’s topless glory has even become a popular meme.
The Nuggets have Nikola Jokic’s father to thank forever. The Serbian big man flew under the radar in the 2014 NBA Draft as the 41st overall selection. He waited for one year before taking his talents to the big league. Today, the Nuggets are looking like absolute geniuses for nailing their pick.
Jokic has turned out to a rare specimen, combining his elite passing skills with a high basketball acumen to carve his niche as one of the best big men ever.