Nikola Jokic is what you might call a wolf in sheep’s clothing. On the outside, he looks like a laid-back 20-something, even at 7 feet tall. But on the court, Jokic, also known as “Joker,” is something else entirely, a relative rookie boasting veteran numbers. Given his recent contract extension with the Denver Nuggets, how much is a player like Jokic worth?
A superstar in the making
Jokic was born in 1995 in Sombor, Serbia in the months immediately following war and destabilization in the region. He is part of a new generation of kids who grew up in a more prosperous post-war Eastern Europe, according to Bleacher Report.
His childhood was reasonably happy. He recalls being a class clown, being interested in horse racing, and the moment he fell in love with basketball. The young star recalled watching the modern greats on YouTube when he was a teenager, absorbing the techniques of players like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Hakeem Olajuwon.
Jokic is the youngest of three brothers. His oldest brother, Strahinja, is nearly 10 years older than his younger brother. Nemanja is a full seven years older himself. Despite the age gaps, the three are inseparable, living together in Denver along with Jokic’s childhood sweetheart, Natalija.
Jokic’s path to NBA super stardom was not the average NBA player’s path, however. He did not set foot in the United States until he was drafted into the NBA. Instead, Joker came up in the Adriatic league where he made a name for himself. He played there from 2012 until his NBA debut in 2015.
Jokic’s career (so far)
Jokic’s only been in the league for five years, but in that small span of time he’s established himself as a dominant force. He was initially drafted 41st overall by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 2014 draft. At the time, he was considered a nobody in a crowded, talented draft class. That’s why the numbers that Jokic has put up since have been nothing short of astounding.
In five short years, the Joker has managed to average 17 points per game, just over nine rebounds, and five and half assists. The most exciting part about those numbers? Every single year he’s been in the league they have improved, pulling the mighty center’s average upward. Who knows where those stats will be by the time he reaches mid-career?
Despite his age, he’s managed to rack up a few honors as well. He and the Denver Nuggets have visited the playoffs twice, with a pair of unfortunate first round losses. He also went to the 2013 and 2016 Olympics as part of the Serbian team where his team won silver both times. Most impressive of all is that in only five seasons, Joker is already on the all-time top ten list for triple-doubles, with the distinct honor of achieving the fastest one in NBA history.
Nikola Jokic’s net worth
For Jokic, the future looks bright. In 2018, the young superstar signed a massive five-year contract extension worth an astounding $147 million, according to Spotrac. That means that he will make a cool $24 million in base salary per year, with nearly $1 million more coming from incentive pay. That’s a major upgrade compared to his previous one and half million dollar contract.
What does that mean for his overall net worth? As of this writing, between past contract payouts and endorsements, it is estimated that Jokic is worth approximately $30 million. That figure is set to skyrocket in the coming years, however.
Either way, the Joker’s unassuming exterior hides a predator; he’s in the catbird seat both in his personal life and on the court. Once he recovers from his recent COVID-19 diagnosis, and the NBA gets back into the swing of things, we can expect big things out of Joker.