The horse-whispering MVP
There are only 13 players in history who have made back-to-back NBA MVP titles. Two of them are in the Eurobasket - Giannis and Nikola Jokic.
And only one has received the Best Player award from the best league in the world in a stable. Jokic's passion is horses.
"I love their smell. There isn't a better feeling in the world than when you hear the noises they make when they eat. They are magnificent animals."
Jokic spends the holidays in his stables in his native Sombor. Traditional horse-drawn chariot racing is his passion.
His colleagues say that "talking about horses gives him peace." He had considered it as a professional career. "Horses are like athletes."
Jokic (27) took a while to dedicate himself seriously to basketball. He spent 3 years playing in Sombor before joining the Nuggets in the NBA (2015).
From there, he went to four All Stars, two consecutive MVPs (2021-22)... and the largest contract in NBA history: five years, 264 million dollars.
It was difficult for him to adapt to the NBA. What saved him is that his girlfriend and two brothers came to live with him in an apartment in Denver.
He also had to start taking his diet very seriously: when he arrived to the US, he was drinking three liters of Coca Cola every day.
Now he has come to the Eurobasket as one of the kings of the tournament. Serbia is a favorite to win. They haven't won since 2001, when it was Yugoslavia.
Jokic won silver in the World Under-19 in 2013 and in the Olympic Games in 2016. But he's still missing a gold with the selection.
Already a big star in the 2019 World Cup, it was a disappointment for him. Serbia, who started as favorites, lost to Argentina in the quarterfinals.
The center, a magical talent of 6'11", averaged 11.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in China. Now he wants to do something really big.