Basketball Coach Finds Jokic Who Was Unusual, Dies

Serbian center Nikola Jokic made his NBA debut in 2015.

European prospects have been knocking on the NBA scene steadily since the 1990s, but Jokic was not a big player at the time. He was the Denver Nuggets’ 41st overall pick in the second round in 2014 (a total of 60 picks). Expectations were low and recognition was low. Jokic’s family did not see the moment Jokic was called in the draft. At that moment, there was a Taco Bell TV commercial on the air.

Standing more than 210 centimeters tall and weighing more than 120 kilograms, Jokic was a center with body size that was attractive to NBA players. This laid groundwork for NBA players. However, prevailing view was that Jokic was unlikely to succeed in the NBA stage because he was not the type to actively play under the basket.

However, the times were on Jokic’s side. NBA basketball was changing in 2015. The era of three-point shooting has arrived and small lineup tactics have been in the spotlight. Big men who handle the ball better and shoot better than big men who are ‘under the basket’ types have slowly started to draw attention.

Jokic was a big man with talent suitable for the new era. He discovered his talent and sharpened his teeth even before the wind of change blew in the NBA. In this process, his childhood coach Dejan Milojevic’s contribution was absolute.

Milojevic, a Serbian national, is a legend of Serbian basketball who won the MVP award three times in the Adriatic League, a professional basketball league in Eastern Europe. He was called Charles Barkley of Serbia when he was an active player and was 200 centimeters tall.

Milojevic first met Jokic when he was 12 and coached him for about three years. As soon as he saw Jokic, he discovered his special talent. Jokic was different from others. So he chose a customized way of teaching.

After we first met, I didn’t let him hold a basketball for about a month. His first training was to improve his physical strength and diet. If you look at Milojevic’s interview at the time, Jokic wasn’t even able to do push-ups. And he was too fat. He loved soft drinks such as Coke. He said he was in a physical condition that felt like he was going to get hurt while playing in the game without being ready.

When Jokic’s physical condition was ready, he started training in earnest. It was different from the training method applied to ordinary players. At that time, he chose to make use of Jokic’s special talent, not to raise big men suitable for basketball. Milojevic was a big man who was good at passing when he was an active player, and he immediately recognized Jokic’s talent. It is said that it did not take long for the young Jokic to surpass his coach’s passing skills in terms of training method to make use of his strengths.

Milojevic only asked Jokic to be in the minimum physical condition to become an athlete, but did not ask him to go on an excessive diet. “People are worried about Jokic’s physical condition, but how to define a good physical condition comes first. It depends on each person. Jokic has much stronger power than he looks. He may look chubby and fat, but he is not. If you think that and attack him, you will be smashed by Jokic,” he said in a past interview.

Milojevic has created the current NBA’s best big man by training Jokic’s strong power and selfless play tendency. Jokic’s game is different from that of an ordinary center. He dominates the basket with strong power, but the key elements that shine to him are his ball handling skills that exceed the level of a guard, and his ability to see and pass throughout the team’s offense.

Jokic won the NBA’s regular league MVP award for the second consecutive year starting from the 2020-2021 season. Last season, he missed the MVP award by beating Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia Phillies, but instead took the Finals MVP trophy by leading Denver to the NBA Finals.마카오토토주소

Jokic has averaged 25.5 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 9.1 assists in 41 games in the 2023-2024 season. He is above top-class point guards in the assist rankings. His 9.8 assists last season is the most assists ever by a player at a center position in a single season.

If Jokic hadn’t met Coach Milojevic, he might not have stood where he is. Jokic’s natural talent now dominates the NBA stage, but when he was young, it wasn’t the skill that the center needed. Milojevic created the current Jokic by taking advantage of his strengths instead of filling in for his weaknesses.

In addition, Milojevic’s guiding philosophy stands out. He said not to consider basketball as a profession. If you consider it a hobby that you will spend your life with, you can maintain your passion while playing for a long time. In fact, Jokic is doing this. Jokic is serious about horse racing. Sometimes he looks like a horse racer collecting MVP trophies in the NBA as a hobby.

The opening of the regular league game between the Golden State Warriors and the Utah Jazz, which was scheduled to take place in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday, has been postponed. It was because something unfortunate happened. Milojevic, currently coaching the Warriors, suddenly collapsed during dinner the previous day and eventually died at the age of 46 from a heart attack.

The NBA Secretariat immediately decided to cancel the opening of the game, and the Golden State Club issued an official statement mourning the death of Milojevic. He joined the Golden State coaching staff from 2021, contributing greatly to the victory in 2022. Coach Steve Kerr, who sought to recruit Milojevic himself after hearing his reputation as a good European leader, also expressed his deep loss and condolences.

Upon hearing the news, Jokic was deeply saddened. He called Milojevic “Deki,” his nickname, and wrote on his social media, “Rest in peace. My condolences to your family.”

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