The story of Nikola Jokić ending up in Denver is proof that sometimes you need a bit of luck to pull off a great move. But, given the insane story of Jokić signing with his agent, it seems like the MVP brings luck to everyone involved with him.
Getting to Denver
If you’re haven’t heard about Jokić landing in Denver, here’s a short recap. Nikola had a deal in place with Barcelona, one of the greatest teams in Europe. As fate would have it, his last game before transferring to Barca happened to be against - Barca. Jokić had such a horrible game that the folks at Barcelona pulled the plug on the deal, saying they’d like to wait for a few more months. Nikola’s agent was quite clear about how poor of a performance it was.
“The last game before signing with Barcelona, Nikola played against Barcelona. That wasn’t bad, that was the worst ever.”
Miodrag Miško Ražnatović, Nedeljnik
That opened up the door for Jokić to land in Denver in the upcoming Draft. Miško Ražnatović, Nikola’s agent, caused some drama when he bluffed about Jokić’s status to measure interest in the young center. “I didn’t really do it. I wanted people to think about it a little more and see the reaction in the United States.” When Denver and a few other teams started frantically calling Ražnatović, he knew his client would get drafted.
With the 41st overall pick, the Nuggets selected Jokić, and the rest is history. But it seems every major step in Nikola’s career had a lot of luck mixed in with hard work.
Miško Ražnatović and his BeoBasket agency are one of, if not the strongest, agencies in Europe. From a lawyer helping a few buddies negotiating their contracts in the 90s, Ražnatović built a serious organization. A large scouting and player development department to find every young talent in Europe and nurture their career. Yet, landing their biggest client was mostly a matter of luck.
I was reading the newspapers and saw a kid was putting up impressive numbers. I asked my main scout to try and establish contact with the family so we can try and sign him. I don’t know of another Serbian player who got signed by a sports agency without any scouting. He came to us, I never saw him play, my scouts had never seen him play. He turned out to be the best player in the world.
Miodrag Miško Ražnatović, Biznis Priče
Sometimes you just have to be lucky, and Ražnatović understands that. “On the other hand, a lot of others who were meticulously scouted, we knew everything there was to know about them, and we were sure they would do great things and they never did. We can definitely say that BeoBasket and myself were very lucky at that moment [of signing Jokić.]”
Not to cut everyone involved short - that luck was capitalized on by a lot of great decisions and primarily Jokić’s hard work. Fortune favors the bold, and it seems both Ražnatović and Jokić were very bold and rewarded for it.