In a remarkable story shared by Misko Raznatovic, one of the most influential basketball agents in Europe, he revealed the unconventional path that led to signing Nikola Jokic. At the age of 17 and a half, Jokic went unnoticed by scouts and even Raznatovic’s own scouting department. However, a newspaper article caught Raznatovic’s attention and piqued his curiosity.
“This is a pretty unique story because generally all the players from the NBA or even EuroLeague, they’re discovered by a team of scouts who are going all over the countries and see the kids 8-years-old, 10-years-old and start following them,” Raznatovic explained on SHOWTIME Basketball. “Somehow nobody really paid attention to this guy [Jokic].”
Reading about Jokic’s exceptional performances in a Serbian under-18 competition, Raznatovic was intrigued. He reached out to his scout, only to discover that Jokic was virtually unknown to him as well. Fascinated by this hidden talent, Raznatovic instructed his scout to investigate further. Within minutes, the scout reported that Jokic was not simply overpowering opponents, but rather displayed versatility and talent despite being slightly overweight.
Raznatovic’s curiosity was further ignited as he continued, “So I called my scout and asked him about him [Jokic] and it’s silence. He didn’t know him. What for me was the surprise of the year, having in mind that he [the scout] knows all the kids 10-years-old.”
Believing in the power of analysis and projections, Raznatovic made an unexpected decision: to sign Jokic without anyone from his agency having seen him play. His scout visited Jokic’s family, who were thrilled to have an agency of Raznatovic’s stature take an interest in their son, despite him never having participated in the senior team’s practices.
A few days later, Raznatovic met with Jokic and his family. The chemistry between them was undeniable, particularly with Jokic’s older brother, Strahinja, who played a significant role in supporting Jokic during the challenging early stages of his career. It was a meeting that sealed the deal.
“The family is a great one, very stable old-fashioned Serbian family. They really take care of their kids well. They were very happy that an agency of that size was interested in a kid who by the way never came to the practice of the seniors’ team. They really didn’t recognize,” Raznatovic recounted.
“This is the first and last player in the 27-year-old history of the agency that we signed him without anybody seeing him,” the agent concluded.
Since then, Jokic’s journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. Drafted as the 41st overall pick by the Denver Nuggets in 2014, his talent quickly became evident. Despite being announced during commercials rather than on live television, Jokic has emerged as a two-time MVP, winning the prestigious award in both 2021 and 2022. He has propelled the Nuggets to their first-ever NBA Finals appearance this year, showcasing his prowess on the court.
Raznatovic’s decision to sign Jokic without seeing him play has proven to be a stroke of genius. The Serbian center has cemented himself as one of the best players in the world and has captured the hearts of basketball fans worldwide. As the Nuggets continue their quest for an NBA championship, Jokic’s journey serves as a testament to the power of talent, perseverance, and the astute instincts of those who believe in the potential of undiscovered gems.