Nikola Jokic hosted teammates to watch Lakers/Pelicans play-in game, build chemistry

Mar 5, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Peyton Watson (8) and center Nikola Jokic (15)
Mar 5, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Peyton Watson (8) and center Nikola Jokic (15) / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Everything about Nikola Jokic from the outside looking in has to do with privacy, secrecy, and a general disinterest in sharing his personal life. It’s a reasonable, understandable, and frankly admirable approach to life as an NBA superstar.

But it also makes it that much sweeter for fans when we do get a peak into the off-court antics of the Joker. In this case, it’s not just Jokic, but his teammates as well. As recounted by Peyton Watson, in a story by Harrison Wind of DNVR, Nikola has his teammates over to his house on Tuesday to watch the Lakers at Pelicans play-in tournament game which decided the Nuggets’ first-round playoff opponent.

According to Watson, the players were treated to food, dessert, and drink - specifically Rakija. Rakija, a fruit brandy alcohol, is the national drink of Serbia. It sounds like the Denver players had plenty of fun while scouting their next playoff opponents.

Although this wasn’t the most detailed story, it still warms my heart to hear stories about the Nuggets players hanging out off the court, building chemistry, and bonding as teammates. I also love seeing how much Jokic has taken to the 22-year-old Watson, as the two players also appear in multiple national TV commercials. 

Mushy stories about teams building bonds off the court are often overblown and the actual impact they have on on-court play is debatable at best. While it may not be tangible, I definitely believe when a team’s players truly like each other and connect beyond just basketball, it can make a difference.

So call me a hopeless romantic, but I eat these stories right up. Credit to Watson for sharing, and kudos to Harrison Wind for a great article and for pulling the curtain back a bit. These players can seem like machines at times, so any opportunity to hear about their lives outside of basketball is something I relish.

I’m certainly not trying to see that this team dinner is what will push them over the hump and propel the Nuggets to another title, but it’s good to stop and enjoy the little moments along the way. I also appreciate the reminder that I need to try and review some Rakija ASAP.