Nikola Jovic mentions 3 people but only 2 NBA players when asked to name his G.O.A.T.'
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Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat youngster Nikola Jovic recently sat down with HoopsHype to discuss various topics about his young NBA career. Like many interviews, one of the questions centered around who he believes is the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T.), and he offered an interesting answer.

“Who’s my G.O.A.T?” he said. “It has to be my dad. He’s my G.O.A.T. He’s someone who just always helped me grow in every single way possible, and he’s someone I look I look up to all the time. Talking basketball, probably Michael Jordan. M.J. and the guy I always looked when I was growing up gotta be Russell Westbrook. He was the one who was playing every single game like it was his last one and that’s something I always loved.”

The Serbian’s father, Ilija, also used to play hoops, and because the elder Jovic played for a time in Leicester, England, that was where the two-year NBA pro was born.

Some might think that it was only logical for the younger Jovic to follow in his dad’s footsteps at an early age. However, he actually trained in water polo before picking up basketball seriously when he became a teenager.

It turned out to be a great decision because he emerged as one of the most promising Serbian prospects a few years ago. Before the 2021-22 NBA season, he received votes in a poll that named some of the best international players not suiting up in the league.

In the 2022 draft, the Heat snatched him up with the 27th overall pick. Not long after, team president Pat Riley prophesied that he was “gonna be very good.”

Aside from mentioning his father, the younger Jovic also gave an intriguing answer in Jordan. Given that Jovic was born in 2003, he wasn’t even alive when the Chicago Bulls legend was an active player. Longtime Heat fans might also roll their eyes at the mention of Jordan’s name, as he was a thorn in the franchise’s side throughout the 1990s.

But they should be thrilled that he looked up to Westbrook, who’s known for a variety of things, including his all-around game and passion on the court.

The younger Jovic has not yet exactly made his mark in the NBA, although he has shown flashes of his potential in his first two years in the league.

He had a solid performance in the 2024 playoffs, starting all five games in Miami’s first-round series loss to the Boston Celtics. The 21-year-old forward averaged 9.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from long distance during the series.

Hopefully, the younger Jovic can improve further and continue to contribute to the squad next season and beyond.

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Orel writes all day, everyday. During the day, he writes and does research to complete his master's degree in education. During the night, he writes about the league he has loved since the '90s: the NBA.