Today, Nikola Jokic is easily one of the NBA's best players. As the star and face of the Denver Nuggets, it's impossible not to notice the amazing impact he has on his team.
But things didn't always come so easy for The Joker.
In a recent talk with CNN, the Serbian baseball star revealed what life was like for him coming into the league and, as you might have guessed, it wasn't pretty.
“I used to drink two or three liters of Coca-cola every day and I had my last can on the flight to the United States. The first week in practice was tough. All my teammates were more physical and athletic…I kind of wanted to go home.”
Even as he is now, Jokic doesn't look or move like a typical NBA big man. To the eye, he can look slow, sluggish, and out of shape.
But the way he's able to flip a switch can even surprise his teammates at times.
"And so I waited, and I've never seen anything like him. Just the way he -- he's just a weird dude. Before the game, he's on his phone playing games. I think he started taking his health more seriously, but like before that, I heard that before the season, he just goes back, drinks beer, rides horses, and then tries to get in shape a couple of weeks before the season starts. He's just naturally amazing."
Jokic, 26, is a 3x All-Star, 3x All-NBA player, and 2021 NBA MVP. As a scorer and playmaker for Denver's offense, he has been essential to the team's success over the past few years.
This season, amid several injuries, the Nuggets have struggled to show their typical display of dominance and Jokic has had a lot to carry.
Still, there might be nobody more well-equipped than him to carry the Nuggets through some difficult times.