Nikola Jokic On 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... During A Game, I Told The Coach I Had To Leave At Halftime For Another Horse Race.”

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(via SLAM)

(via SLAM)

Nikola Jokic was really close to pursuing a different career if he didn't regain interest in basketball when he was a teenager. The Serbian big man was recently named the 2021 NBA MVP after a magical season with the Denver Nuggets. 

There was a time when Jokic wasn't too interested in the beautiful game. Instead, he was focused on race horsing, and according to himself, he was deeply into it. Recently, the 26-year-old was asked if he ever quit basketball. The player revealed that he was he did so for six months when he was 12 or 14. 

The reason? Race horsing. Even after his father convinced him to return to the court, Jokic couldn't stop thinking about race horsing. 

“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."

This is not the first time the center tells this story. Back in 2016, he told SLAM he was a big fan of horse racing growing up, but he only saw it as a hobby, just like basketball. 

SLAM: Is it true that besides basketball, you raced horses as a kid?

NJ: Basketball was always in my life. I had two older brothers who played basketball. I fell in love with basketball because of them. We would always play together. But then at some point in my life I started to go into horse racing. I just fell in love with horses and their beauty and elegance. It was like a hobby for me. I didn’t get serious with it. And I wasn’t taking basketball serious either. I was in between both.

Good thing he picked basketball, and now we have one of the most entertaining players in the NBA. Jokic has made the center position relevant again, and that doesn't seem to change anytime soon.