Nikola Jokic claims that he wanted to race horses when he was younger, much more than he wanted to play basketball at age 12.
The legend of Nikola Jokic continues to baffle the baffle the NBA world as the 41st pick in the NBA draft becomes the lowest drafted player in the history of the league to snag MVP honors. He’s also the only Denver Nugget to have ever won the award, edging out Nuggets legends such as Alex English and Carmelo Anthony; players who were never able to accomplish this.
Nikola Jokic most definitely had an unorthodox relationship with the game of basketball while growing. While most NBA athletes naturally grow into loving basketball all by themselves, Jokic was forced into picking up the rock when he was 10 years old. It should also be noted that players who reach Jokic’s caliber of play are ones that generally start playing the sport around the age of 5 or 6.
However, due to the fact that the ‘Joker’ was playing a sport he had no interest in, his dedication towards basketball started to wane. The 2021 MVP even admitted to this recently.
Nikola Jokic wanted to horse race instead of play basketball.
After playing basketball for about two years or so, Nikola Jokic decided to hang up the sneakers for good. He talks about wanting to race horses much more than wanting to playing basketball when he was around the age of 12 and even thought about never returning to the sport.
“I quit when I was 12. I quit for about 6 months. I just wanted to race horses. But my dad convinced me to play again. I returned for one game but told my coach I had to leave at halftime for another horse race.”
I asked the MVP if he ever grew tired of basketball:
“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 to leave at halftime for another horse race” pic.twitter.com/lbMthDNAHA
— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) June 9, 2021
Jokic would eventually find his way back to basketball upon discovering Magic Johnson highlights on YouTube at the age of 15. This should be a clear indication of who he modelled his game after as the savvy playmaker clearly shows flashes of the 5x champ with his passing ability.
It’s safe to say that basketball fans have Nikola Jokic’s dad to thank for pushing him to pursue basketball as without him, we may have never seen one of the greatest offensive seasons from a center in recent memory.