However, don’t let that fool you. He might be humble, but a 7-0, 290 big man is not the European you want to mess with. I mean, he’s the son of a seven-foot police officer who beat up 14 people in a fight. The NBA guys can only hope that’s not the trait he inherited from his father. But it’s not only for his physicality Nurkić is respected by his peers. It’s also because he’s a rare European that is willing to engage in the NBA’s lost art – trash talking.
I never start it. But I never back down, because there’s always something to prove.Jusuf Nurkić, 1-ON-1 with Jusuf Nurkić
We’ve seen him do it with Ben Simmons. We’ve seen him do it with Paul George. We’ve seen him do it with Russ. But Jusuf is never the one to initiate it. He just ‘goes with the flow of the game‘ and makes sure to leave it on the court. According to Nurkić, ‘there’s a line, and you don’t want to cross that line.’
That’s another thing that’s different in today’s NBA – the line has moved big time. With all the fines involved and everything being under the magnifying glass, with guys being woke about their images, they are less likely to engage in any form of an altercation with their opponents, whether it’s physical or verbal. Crossing that line used to be a daily occurrence in the NBA. Today, it’s an anomaly, and Nurkić himself hadn’t experienced it since Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant.
Kobe was saying stuff in my language, and KG was saying some crazy stuff; I’m like ‘wow.’ They’d be really mean, and I don’t know if they were mean off the court, but on the court, they’d be trying to cut your head off.Jusuf Nurkić, 1-ON-1 with Jusuf Nurkić
Jusuf himself realizes stuff like this is what fans want to see more of, and he sees it in a lot of young guys coming up. According to Nurk, it’s derived from the delusion of thinking they’re better than they are at that point in their careers. But in this day and age, even that’s something NBA fans will be happy with.
Trash talking is a cultural part of professional basketball, and it’s something worth preserving. Jusuf is doing his part and more should follow his lead.