NUGGETS

Nikola Jokic gives most insightful interview yet on MPJ’s podcast

Dec 28, 2023, 1:59 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2023, 9:06 am

They say Nikola Jokic doesn’t care about basketball and just wants to be with his horses.

A lot gets talked about the two-time NBA MVP, but when the big man spoke for himself on a new episode of Michael Porter Jr.’s Curious Mike Podcast, it cracked the facade. The star of Denver Nuggets revealed to the world just how detail-oriented, winning-obsessed and focused he is.

In a great edition of MPJ’s show, he got maybe the best English interview with Jokic—or at least, according to Jokic it was the best questions he was asked in years. The shot-making forward asked his center for his list of best players on the planet, how he met his wife, what his future looks like, what makes him tick, and more. The full episode is worth a listen and is embedded below, but here are some of the highlights.

“The motivation actually becomes your lifestyle of being obsessed with success,” Jokic told Porter. “I think winning is a lifestyle for us right now, I’m thinking about the team right, I think like we can win every game and I think it’s winning is kind of lifestyle and you get obsessed with winning and that lifestyle. We have fun when we’re winning and that’s my motivation, I’m obsessed with winning and that lifestyle.”

Winning has affected Jokic’s thoughts. On Ring Night, the Nuggets showed a video to the crowd at Ball Arena, and players where fans reacted after Denver’s Game 5 win over the Heat in the NBA Finals, to clinch a title. The tears, the shouting, the cheering and more. At that moment, Jokic watched on the floor and appeared to get emotional.

“Do you remember when we won the championship they put a video of the people celebrating in their homes,” Jokic asked Porter. “I got goosebumps (even now), we impact so many people just by playing basketball, so I think it’s to make people happy, that’s the goal. When we won, I realized, I felt more relief than joy but when I saw the video I was like we impact so many people, this is a big thing. But at the end of the day, we’re just playing basketball but we’re put on earth to make people happy I think.”

Without Jokic’s clutch plays over and over in the playoffs, the Nuggets would not have captured their first-ever championship. The Finals MVP is one of the most clutch players in the game and he admitted to Porter he feels that pressure and fear of losing but shared how he moves past it.

“If you’re not scared, if you don’t feel pressured or nervous you didn’t choose the right sport, that’s a normal thing you must have,” Jokic said. “The most important thing is to prepare for that moment. You’re thinking about the player you’re going against, crowd, home or away, I put the scenarios in my head and I’ve already lived it in my head and what happens on the floor is different sometimes but you are prepared for what happens. Every game I have pressure, I have a fear that the guy on the other team is going to beat me, I think you must have that.”

The facade that most people think is the Joker showed itself too. He genuinely talked about his thoughts on his off-the-court lifestyle and future.

“I really don’t like this life, at the end of the day we’re just basketball players and good at it,” Jokic told. “Media is around us and we get paid because of it and the popularity. Some people like being famous, but I really don’t, I really wish nobody will know me when I finish my career. I hope my kid remembers me as a dad, that’s my goal in life. Another big goal is not to have a phone, just to live in the moment, and be a normal person. Go drink with your buddy, have lunch—not make a big deal of it. People make such a big deal of small things, I feel sad when people record me at restaurants, I’m just living my life.

Jokic said with a smile he maybe gives his career five more years, which just so happens to line up with the 28-year-old’s current contract.

“After my career is over, the publicity will be gone and I will figure it out and how I want to see myself is to be around my family, spending my days with my kid maybe they will do something interesting and I will follow them,” Jokic said. “Then I will spend the rest of my day with horses, I have a couple of horses outside of Serbia, in Italy, Sweden and France. My secret goal is to be a driver, have fun travel the world or Europe and race horses. That sounds fun.”

Jokic shared some of his top players, including Joel Embiid and Luka Doncic but didn’t tab the actual top five MPJ asked for. Jokic also said multiple big lineups like the Lakers ran in the 2020 Western Conference Finals and what the Timberwolves have now, give him the most trouble.

YouTube video

 

In a monologue after the interview, Porter shared one of his key takeaways

“Playing with Nikola has made me you know obviously a better a better player you know he gets me so many open looks but a better person as well—more disciplined, I think more definitely with the routine and stuff. He’s definitely observing him and how he operates day to day has definitely helped me but also the way he thinks you know how he is after a good game or how he is after a bad game. Just seeing his balance in life, he’s become a good friend of mine over the years and I never would have thought that my first couple of years just because we’re so different. I didn’t understand his jokes he didn’t really understand my culture and how me and my friends joke around so but now it’s crazy to see him kind of open up and just his personality has evolved and he’s joking around just like us and he’s one to go out and go to dinners and do the things that we do so it’s been really enjoyable playing with Joker.”

Porter shared that like Aaron Gordon did this past summer, he plans to visit Jokic in Serbia this coming summer.

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