NBA Champion and Naismith Hall of Famer unleashes insane Nikola Jokic slander

Mar 29, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) leaves the court
Mar 29, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) leaves the court / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic has silenced every doubter and established himself as an all-time great in basketball lore. He’s on the cusp of winning his third NBA MVP award and his fourth First-Team All-NBA nod. He’s the reigning Finals MVP as well and with every new accomplishment and accolade, he further cements his legacy.

He just turned 29 years old and Big Honey is already in rarified air in terms of basketball achievements. When it’s all said and done there’s a good chance the Joker will go down as the greatest international basketball player ever.

He’s already on the short list of names involved in that conversation with guys like Hakeem Olajuwon and Dirk Nowitzki, and with a few more seasons like this, he’ll be clear of both. It’s not unreasonable to think that by the time he retires, Jokic will be mentioned in top 5 all-time arguments.

International basketball legend is apparently a Jokic hater

And yet, it seems Jokic still has some detractors, including Croatian basketball legend, Naismith Hall of Famer, and three-time NBA champion, Toni Kukoc. In a recent interview with Sporski Zurnal, Kukoc said that not only is Jokic not yet on the level of the all-time greats, he’s not even on the level of former Balkan greats.

"“Despite the statistics, Jokic isn’t at the level of [Vlade] Divac and Dino [Radja] in the center position.30 years ago, Divac surprised America with the way he handled the ball while being this tall. Radja when it comes to how he could catch the ball under the basket and reach the other side of the court to score.”"

Toni Kukoc

Now I can understand and appreciate Kukoc sticking up for his contemporaries, and possibly friends. Surely he romanticizes his own era of basketball and that’s commendable.

However, this take is pure lunacy and Kukoc should be embarrassed for even putting these quotes out into the universe. Divac and Radja were both great players in their own right. They had great moments in world basketball and very impressive NBA careers.

Jokic head and shoulders above the field

They helped pave the way for international players to make their way in the NBA and both have been recognized for their accomplishments by being inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame. But even at their apexes, neither player was ever anywhere close to elite status.

Divac played 15 years in the NBA and he was one of the most versatile big men in the league, a key contributor on multiple winning teams. But over his entire career, he made one All-Star game. Radja played just four years in the NBA and put up decent numbers, but they were lost on some dismal Celtics teams in the 1990s.

For Kukoc to even mention these games in the same sentence as Jokic is frankly insulting. This quote reeks of jealousy and a long-retired player desperate for relevance. It’s a sad excuse for basketball discourse and the only reason I’m even mentioning it is to put Kukoc in his place. Come on Toni, you’re a basketball legend, but you’ve got to do better than this.