There’s a bit of an international movement on the Milwaukee Bucks. There’s the obvious with star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who holds Greek and Nigerian heritage. There’s Pau Gasol of Spain and Ersan İlyasova of Turkey.
Then there’s Nikola Mirotic. The 6-foot-10 stretch-4 has been a valuable asset since leaving the New Orleans Pelicans at the February trade deadline, averaging 16.7 points (with 36.8 percent shooting from three), as well as 8.2 rebounds during the 2018-19 regular season.
He hails from Montenegro despite representing Team Spain on the international circuit. Let’s explore why this is the case.
Nikola Mirotic Nationality & Ethnicity
Mirotic was born in Titograd, a village outside Podgorica in the country now known as Montenegro, in February 1991. By the early 2000s, he was training with Jadran Vujacic, the head of the Joker School of Basketball in Podgorica. According to a translation of a quote by Vujacic in an article from Liga Endesa:
“Nikola was 13 years old and Marko (Todorovic) was 12-13 years old, they both spent two and a half years in Joker School and then came to Real Madrid and Joventut, respectively, and every summer when they return to Montenegro they continue to work with me. be better.
This means his natural citizenship is with Montenegro. With that said, he associates with the Spanish national team, as he signed with the Real Madrid junior team in 2006.
This is my home and my first big dream has come true,” Mirotic told Euroleague in 2011 after a contract extension. “This is just the beginning for me, because I want to stay in the club as long as possible. I want to fulfill my dreams, improve as a player and help this club in any way I can.”
In a total of 97 EuroLeague games for Real Madrid, Mirotić averaged 10.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, according to EuroLeague. His best average came in his final season in 2013-14, when he posted 12.4 points on 46.1 percent shooting from deep. This earned him a 1st round selection in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. He was immediately traded to the Bulls, playing in Chicago until last season when he was traded to the Pelicans.
He also helped Spain win the bronze medal at the European under-20 championships in Croatia in 2010. A year later, he led Spain to a gold medal in the same tournament. Since leaving for the NBA, he has participated for his country’s gold medal-winning team at EuroBasket in 2015, as well as a bronze finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
While he claims Spain as his home, as well as his Montenegrin roots, he loves his experience in America, according to Shams Charania.
“What an opportunity for me here … I cannot believe it. I’m learning a lot, and it’s amazing,” Mirotic says, and he’s so much more coordinated now in his pro career…Nikola Mirotic is where he belongs.