Nikola Jokic Nickname: How Did Nuggets Center Get Unique Moniker?

Nikola Jokic nickname how he got it

Getty Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic has quickly become one of the best centers in the NBA just four years into his career with the Denver Nuggets. After being a second-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Jokic posted solid averages in his first season but took a huge leap from year one to year two while continuing to trend upwards from there.

But while there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to Jokic, one interesting subject is his nickname. The 24-year-old received his infamous ‘Joker’ nickname during the early stages of his career. And it’s all thanks to former teammate Mike Miller, who spent the final two years of his NBA career with the Nuggets.

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How Nikola Jokic Received ‘Joker’ Nickname

It came at some point during either his rookie or sophomore season, the two years in which Miller played in Denver. And as Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck revealed, it stemmed from the fact that Miller simply couldn’t pronounce Jokic’s last name, so apparently decided to come up with his own nickname for him.

“… the kid they call Joker—a nickname hatched by former teammate Mike Miller, who couldn’t pronounce YO-kitch …” Howard Beck explained.

Some of the best nicknames stem from very unique situations, and this appears to be one of them. Look no further than Clemson Tigers football coach Dabo Swinney, whose real name is William, but is called Dabo because his then-15-month-old brother, Tripp, would attempt to say “that boy” when referring to Swinney. But instead, it came out as “Dabo,” and the rest was history, as Ron Morris of The State detailed.


Nikola Jokic’s Impressive Start to NBA Career

The big jump forward for Jokic in his career from year one to year two featured his numbers increasing across the board. During the 2016-17 season, the 7-foot center averaged 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists and shot 57.8 percent from the field.

That was just the starting point, as his scoring jumped once again last year, going up to 18.5 points and then 20.1 points per game during the 2018-19 regular season. He also averaged 10.7 and 10.8 rebounds, along with 6.1 and 7.3 assists in the two-year span while showcasing his ability to do a bit of everything.

Arguably the most impressive aspect of what Jokic has done throughout the early stages of his career is the success it’s resulted in the Nuggets having. Denver earned the No. 2 seed in the NBA playoffs this season, which snapped a five-year postseason drought for the team. The arrow is certainly pointing up for the Nuggets, and Jokic will remain a key to the team’s success both in the immediate future and over the long-term.

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