Nikola Jokic’s rise from second-round draft pick to two-time league MVP is one of the most improbable sports stories in recent memory. The Nuggets’ selection of him with the 41st pick in the 2014 draft famously occurred during a Taco Bell commercial, and he’s far surpassed any reasonable projections that pundits had for him before his ascension to NBA stardom.
But if anybody can lay claim to calling their shot on Jokic panning out, it’s his agent, Misko Raznatovic.
Raznatovic told the story of how he decided to sign Jokic when he was just 17 years old—and before Raznatovic had ever gotten a chance to see Jokic play in person—as a guest on the All the Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes.
As Raznatovic recalled, he was checking box scores from Serbian youth leagues in the newspaper when he saw one then-unknown player’s gaudy stat lines. He asked one of his scouts about the player, and was surprised to learn that the scout had never heard of him before. After the scout made calls about Jokic and came back with positive reports, Raznatovic felt compelled to make a push to sign Jokic on the spot.
“I’m the guy who believes in systems, in projections, analysis,” Raznatovic said. “And I don’t know why, but I told [the scout], ‘I want to sign this guy.’ … This is the first and last player in the 27-year old history of the agency that that we signed him without anybody seeing him.”
It’s safe to say Raznatovic has no regrets about making such a bold decision. And now, with Jokic already with two MVP trophies in tow, he’s three wins away from his first NBA championship.