Nikola Jokic’s Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Nikola Jokic and his brothers

Getty Nikola Jokic and his brothers

Nikola Jokic was born on February 19, 1995, in Sombor, Serbia, a municipality in the top northwest of the European country. The Denver Nuggets star is fairly private when it comes to his family and his personal life, although his two older brothers are well-known to fans. Jokic is married to Natalija Macesic and they have a daughter together.

Here’s what you need to know about Nikola Jokic’s family:

1. Nikola Jokic Grew Up in Sombor, a Small Town in Northwest Serbia, & He Said He Misses It a Lot During the NBA Season

Surprise! ✈️🇷🇸 Nikola Jokic receives his MVP award in Serbia with style! 🏆 @DenverNuggetsWatch this special moment as members of the Denver Nuggets flew to Sombor, Serbia to deliver Nikola Jokic his BACK-TO-BACK MVP award! (Courtesy: @DenverNuggets) ✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ ✔️ Get the ESPN App: ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: ✔️ Watch ESPN on YouTube TV:…2022-05-11T22:48:41Z

Jokic grew up in a small town in northwest Serbia called Sombor. The Nuggets star loves his hometown and goes back every year during the offseason. “We have really nice nature. But I just like the people there. It’s like family,” he told Slam. The country is a big sports nation, with tennis as one of the most popular sports, thanks in part to Novak Djokovic. Jokic said basketball is also as big as tennis.

When he was growing up, though, he didn’t really watch the NBA since the games were hard to get. “When I was like 14 and YouTube came out, I started to watch highlights from some players, some moves but not the whole games. It was like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant,” he shared. Now, it’s more common to see big games on TV in Serbia, he added.

Jokic played a lot of basketball growing up with his two older brothers, Nemanja and Strahinja, who were both over 10 years older than him. The three boys, their parents, and a grandmother lived in a small, two-bedroom apartment in Sombor, and the boys often played on a toy hoop in their house. Jokic would run around while his brothers sat down to even their heights, he told Bleacher Report.

In their interview back in 2017, Jokic admitted that he was homesick. “I want to go home right now. I mean, I am the third kid, and I am a little closer with my parents than [my brothers] are,” he said, to which Nemanja Jokic said he was “spoiled.”

Jokic added, “After my career is over, I’m gonna go back there. It’s super slow — not too much going on — but you have everything. You have a canal, nature; you can get peace of mind outside the city. I just like to be someplace where I know how to drive a car without navigation. How I say, no place like home? Something like that.”

2. Nikola Jokic’s Father Worked as an Agricultural Engineer & Said His Son Inherited His Passion for Horse Racing

Jokic’s parents have stayed out of the limelight for the most part, but an article from Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that his father is Branislav Jokic, a retired agricultural engineer. Branislav Jokic opened up about his son’s passion for horse racing and said, “He inherited this from me.” The publication reported that the Jokic family owns a small stable and their horses compete in harness racing.

“At some point in my life I started to go into horse racing,” Jokic told Slam. “I just fell in love with horses and their beauty and elegance. It was like a hobby for me. I didn’t get serious with it.” He said he enjoyed being around horses, riding them, and helping to clean up in the stables too.

He said he fell in love with basketball because he played all the time with his older brothers and it was a constant in his life. At the same time, he loved horse racing but admitted that he never took either sport seriously. When he was around 14 or 15, he said he had an amateur horse race and won 4th place, which he shared was a good result for his first race.

“As a child, he would clean the stables before going to school,” his father told AFP. He said his son still enjoys riding around the track but only for fun and not for competition.

Jokic bought his first racehorse, Dream Catcher, a few years ago. “I buy a friend,” he told Bleacher Report about his momentous purchase. “He don’t talk, but we can talk, you know?” The stable is still Jokic’s favorite place to be and he’ll often be found cleaning the stalls when he’s back in Sombor. He even shared that if he wasn’t in the NBA, he’d be working as “a stable boy.”

3. Nikola Jokic Is Very Close With His 2 Older Brothers & They Moved to Denver With Him When He Was Drafted

Do you know the Jokić Bros? 🤔 | ARCHIVE FEATURE SPECIALWe know about Nikola, but we take a look at his two biggest fans (and brothers) Nemanja and Strahinja. This was filmed back in 2017, courtesy of the Denver Nuggets ( #TheJoker #JokicBrothers This is the home of NBA Europe on YouTube and the only place for all the best features, interviews, access, event coverage…2020-08-25T15:55:15Z

Jokic’s brothers are well-known to Nuggets fans as they’re often in the crowd at his games, sometimes yelling in Serbian. The oldest is Strahinja, 13 years older than the Nuggets star, and the middle child is Nemanja, who is 11 years older than Jokic. According to Nemanja Jokic, the screaming is a family tradition they got from their father. “Our dad is really passionate about watching the games,” he told Bleacher Report. “He screams, yells. Nobody sits around him.”

Both of Jokic’s older brothers have experience playing basketball at a high level, as Strahinja Jokic played basketball in Europe while Nemanja Jokic is a former Division I player. When Jokic was 10 years old, his brother Nemanja flew to the U.S. to play college basketball at the University of Detroit Mercy, Bleacher Report shared. While there, he lived with Darko Milicic, who he’d played with for years in Serbian club teams. Milicic was then playing for the Detroit Pistons.

“I was living a NBA player’s life,” Nemanja Jokic said about that time in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “I was throwing the best parties on campus—at his house.” However, he also saw what could happen to a superstar athlete without grounding and family support.

“I made mistakes,” Jokic shared. “When I was young, basketball wasn’t my No. 1 priority. Going out, having fun, drinking, girls, that was my No. 1 priority. I was making my own decisions — ‘I’m not going to practice’ — when I still needed family support. That’s what I was missing.” That was a big factor in the brothers’ decision to move to the U.S. with Jokic when he was drafted by the Nuggets.

When Jokic signed with Mega Leks in New Belgrade, his oldest brother moved with him to oversee his diet and conditioning and forced him to spend time in the weight room. In fact, Nemanja Jokic said his younger brother “doesn’t have a choice in whether he wants us around or not,” he told Sports Illustrated.

Jokic was actually told about getting drafted by the Nuggets by his brother Nemanja, who was in New York at the time. Jokic was sleeping in his home in Serbia and his brother called him and yelled, “You got drafted in the NBA! How do you sleep right now?” he recounted to Bleacher Report.

His brothers both moved to Denver with Jokic once he signed with the Nuggets and the three lived together in an apartment, along with Jokic’s now-wife Natalija Macesic. “He’s an intelligent guy and I’m confident he wouldn’t get off track here,” Nemanja Jokic said of his little brother’s move to Denver. “But this is such an important time and I want him to have the kind of support I didn’t. I always tell him, ‘You’re living my dream. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t make the mistakes we made.’”

Jokic shared that everything in his new city was different from his hometown but his family tried to make it like home. “The people, the food, the atmosphere — everything,” he told Slam. “We tried to make our home here and not allow all the different things to bother us. I actually like Denver as a city — it reminds me a little of my hometown in Serbia because I like nature, mountains, rivers and trees.”

4. Nikola Jokic Is Married to Natalija Macesic, Who Is Also From Serbia But Went to College in the U.S.

Jokic is married to Natalija Macesic, his high school sweetheart. Like Jokic, Macesic is private about their personal lives and the two haven’t shared much about their relationship.

However, Macesic is very supportive of her partner and moved with him to Denver when he joined the Nuggets, living with him in a three-bedroom apartment with his two brothers. In one interview with Bleacher Report, he mentioned that she cooked the most out of the four roommates.

He also shared that they often played cards and were very competitive about it but added that he wished Macesic would cheat. “You have to watch the cards,” the Joker told the publication. “You have to watch everybody at the table, because everybody is cheating. You don’t know who is the worst.” Macesic pointed out that she didn’t cheat and Jokic replied, “I want her to cheat,” because his brothers “are cheating all the time.”

Macesic had some experience living in the U.S. before moving to Denver as she played volleyball at Seminole State College in Oklahoma for two seasons from 2013 to 2015. She then transferred to the Metropolitan State University of Denver where she obtained a degree in psychology in 2018.

Jokic and Macesic got engaged in January 2020, according to Macesic’s post on Instagram. They tied the knot in October 2020.

5. Nikola Jokic & Natalija Macesic Have a Daughter Together, Ognjena, Who Was Born in September 2021

Jokic and Macesic welcomed their first child together, a daughter named Ognjena Jokic, in September 2021. The couple first announced they were expecting when Jokic shared earlier that month that his offseason highlight was that their family was growing.

“(The offseason) was short,” he told the Burlington Record. “Probably the highlight is we have a baby coming. That’s probably the highlight of my season, (of) my life. Other than that, it was really short. The second good thing is my horses won 15-to-20 races this year. They’re doing a good job.”

In May 2022, he shared that his daughter was giving him an extra little spark in his life in a press conference. “I have a little daughter, and my family is there, so they give me a lot of energy. There’s just happiness when I go home,” he said.

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