India’s Serbian basketball coaches Veselin Matic (men) and Zoran Visic (women) have positively reacted to their fellow countryman Nikola Jokic winning the 2020-21 NBA MVP award.

The ‘Joker’ has become the first Serbian (and only the third European) to win the top individual honour in the NBA. He also happens to be the first player from Denver Nuggets to be named MVP, and the first centre since Shaquille O’Neal way back in 2000.

“I know him [Jokic] very well,” Coach Matic said. “My son Adrija played with Jokic in the same youth [U16] team at Mega.”

“Serbia is the land of basketball,” Coach Visic said. “Serbia is a five-time world champion same like the USA but with a population of only seven million people. Football is the number one sport in Serbia. But we are better in basketball, volleyball and waterpolo.”

Serbian Basketball Coaches Veselin Matic (left) and Zoran Visic

Serbian Basketball Coaches Veselin Matic (left) and Zoran Visic. Image Credits:

When asked if Jokic could be considered as the greatest ever Serbian basketball player, Matic surprisingly answered in the negative. “In my opinion, we have better players.”

“[Besides Jokic] we also have Euroleague MVP Vasilije Micić,” Matic added.

Both the Indian men and women’s teams are expected to be seen in action later this year during the FIBA Asia Cup. The men will first have to go through a final round of Qualifiers, while the women will be playing at home after India was declared the hosts of the 2021 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup.


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Gopalakrishnan R
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