Nikola Jokic is unlike any other player in the NBA. The Denver Nuggets superstar and reigning league MVP doesn’t care much about the fortune and fame that comes along with being a professional athlete, and he always likes to give back to his fans as much as he can.
In one instance, though, Jokic took it too far when he signed autographs for so long that he suffered a bizarre hand injury that knocked him out of the lineup for a couple of games.
Nikola Jokic was discovered by a sports agent named Misko Raznatovic
A few years before Jokic made it to the NBA, he was playing junior basketball for Vojvodina in his home country of Serbia. The big man was playing extremely well for his junior team, but he wasn’t getting much attention from bigger leagues around the world.
That was until Misko Raznatovic, a European sports agent, started to notice Jokic’s monster stat lines in the local newspaper. Raznatovic eventually called up his main scout and asked him to look into this center dominating the box scores every night.
“Soon I received the info that his build and physique was meek and lousy and that this was a player who is overweight but that he‘s got great talent,” Raznatovic told Igor Velimirovic of Blic Sports in 2017, as translated by SB Nation. “I said to Tadija (a sports agent) that he should travel to Novi Sad on the very next day and that he shouldn‘t return until the kid signs with the agency, which happened during that week.”
And the rest is history.
Jokic once suffered a bizarre injury after signing too many autographs
In the same interview with Blic Sports, Raznatovic told his favorite story from the time he spent with Jokic. Apparently, the three-time All-Star was just as generous then as he is now — so much so that he injured himself while giving too many autographs for kids.
The funniest story during this 3-to-4 years was how he obtained an injury when his team was introduced in Sremska Mitrovica. As it happened, Nikola was the team‘s most charismatic player for the kids and they all wanted to take photos and get his autograph. The result of him giving too many autographs was an inflammation of his right hand tendon and him missing seven days of practice as well as a couple of games.Misko Raznatovic on Nikola Jokic
Never change, Nikola. Never change.
A humble giant
Despite becoming an NBA superstar and a multimillionaire over the past few years, Jokic is still the same, humble giant he was in Serbia. After winning the league MVP award last season, the first thing he did was thank his teammates for making it possible.
“I just want to thank you guys for all the support — not just this year,” Jokic said to the Nuggets crowd during a pregame ceremony. “This trophy is not mine, it’s all these guys over here.”
We need more professional athletes like Jokic.