Celebrating Novak Djokovic and Nikola Jokic’s Massive Feat With 6 Million People, Shaquille O’Neal Lauds 17YO Motherland

Published 09/11/2023, 8:10 AM EDT

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The NBA stars, both past and present, were keenly watching the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Team USA’s rival was missing the greatest current player to come out of Europe, but it still proved to be a top contender for the world title. Shaquille O’Neal is sharing in that country’s glory with two of its finest athletes. It’s no laughing matter that these two athletes share the same nickname despite playing on completely different pitches. Shaq is just in awe of how Serbia is continuing to build a legacy of formidable athletes.

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Two of the greatest Serbian athletes on the world stage are Novak Djokovic and Nikola Jokic. They also boast one of the greatest inter-sports friendships. Enter Shaquille O’Neal who obviously doesn’t want to be left out.

Shaquille O’Neal congratulates Serbia in his own unique way

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The Serbian national team advanced to the finals of the 2023 FIBA World Cup in a spectacular fashion. The world is noticing this small Eastern European nation that became an independent state in 2006 beyond its significant history, all thanks to its athletes. Two of them leading the charge are tennis star, Novak Djokovic and two-time MVP and 2023 NBA Champion, Nikola Jokic. Since Serbia advanced further than Team USA, Shaquille O’Neal jumped in to applaud the team. He did that through two of its finest players ever.

Serbia, a country of 6 million people, has the best basketball player AND the best tennis player in the world. And they’re both nicknamed The Joker. That’s crazy.” Shaq shared the post on his Instagram Stories soon after the Serbian national team surged to the finals.

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Both Djokovic and Jokic are nicknamed the ‘Joker‘ in their respective sports. Though Nikola is not part of the Serbian team this time after winning two silvers with them in the past, he’s cheering them on. His tennis buddy, Djokovic, is also hoping Serbia will enjoy a double glory.

After the U.S. Open, Novak Djokovic’s resume added its 24th Grand Slam win, the most in the world.

Tennis and basketball fans alike have been admiring the intersection of the two sports through Djokovic and Jokic. The Grand Slam champion even hailed Jokic leading the Denver Nuggets to the 2023 NBA championship as a point of pride for their home country.

Another athlete basketball’s ‘Joker’ has found a fan in is the four-time NBA champion, Big Diesel.

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Shaquille is the Joker’s biggest hype-man

Even before the Nuggets won their first championship in franchise history, Shaq had not made a secret of his admiration for Nikola Jokic. Though he’s gone back and forth a bit and thinks Dwight Howard could beat him, O’Neal welcomed Jokic into the exclusive club of the greatest centers in NBA history.

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Shaq’s clearly not surprised that Serbia could take the world title this year. The proof is in the pudding that they have a history of producing outstanding athletes. The current Serbian national roster is living up to the benchmark these two athletes have set and beyond.

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Written by:

Caroline John

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Caroline John is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. She has been covering athletes outside the sports arena since the start of her reporting career. A writer at heart, she graduated with a degree in journalism from a reputed university.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair

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