Former Denver Nuggets guard Austin Rivers recently offered his perspective on the future of his former teammate, Nikola Jokic, in the NBA.
While many anticipate star players to have long careers, Rivers sees a different path for the Serbian sensation.
In a candid interview with Bill Simmons, Rivers was asked if he envisions Jokic playing in the NBA into his late 30s. His response was straightforward: “No. No chance.”
Rivers elaborated on his prediction, stating, “I have him playing another 5-6 years. I have him playing until like 34-35… I think he just goes back [to Serbia]. I don’t wanna say anything more on that because I don’t wanna like put his- I don’t see him playing in the NBA until he’s 39 years old. No way.”
Rivers provided insights into Jokic’s unique perspective on basketball and life outside of the game. He recounted an incident during his time with the Nuggets when Jokic left for Serbia shortly after a defeat, emphasizing the Serbian star’s different priorities.
“The last time I was there we lost to Golden State, I remember like two days later I was grabbing some stuff at the locker room and I was like ‘Joke here?’ They like ‘No, he left yesterday [back to Serbia].’ This is like two days, he’s gone, like he’s out,” he said.
According to Rivers, Jokic’s interests lie beyond the traditional American pop culture and trends, fame, and relevance that captivate many NBA players.
“I don’t think he really gives a sh*t about the American pop culture and trends, and like fame and relevance. Like, those things don’t really interest him like really deeply to a core. And the things that do interest him aren’t those things,” the guard explained.
The Serbian superstar has already achieved remarkable milestones in his career, including two consecutive MVP awards in 2021 and 2022, an NBA championship, and a Finals MVP title in 2023.
Rivers concluded, “He’s already a champion, he’s an All-Star, he’s an MVP, now he just signed a super max. He’ll probably sign one more super max, and I think he’s out… I think by like 35, maybe 36, I think he’s gone.”