All About Nikola Jokić’s Parents, Dad Branislav and Mom Nikolina

2023 NBA champion Nikola Jokić thanks his parents, Branislav and Nikolina, for their support and belief in him

<p>Bart Young/NBAE/Getty</p> Nikola Jokic during a game against the Sacramento Kings on January 7, 2022.

Bart Young/NBAE/Getty

Nikola Jokic during a game against the Sacramento Kings on January 7, 2022.

Three-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokić's parents, Branislav and Nikolina, raised their son to be humble.

The Denver Nuggets center may be as well known for his humility off the basketball court as he is for his dominance on it. He tends to avoid the spotlight and goes back to his hometown of Sombor, Serbia to ride horses.

Nikola’s interests and outlook on life were influenced by his parents, Branislav and Nikolina, while growing up in Sombor. After welcoming Nikola’s older brothers, Strahinja and Nemanja, Branislav and Nikolina had Nikola on Feb. 19, 1995.

Branislav was an agricultural engineer and owned a horse stable in Sombor, where he and Nikolina raised three boys in a small, two-bedroom apartment with their grandmother. During the 2023 NBA Finals — before leading the Nuggets to an NBA championship over the Miami Heat — Nikola spoke to reporters about how his family has supported his journey.

“My mom and dad was always supporting [me], my dad especially. He always thought that I could be something more,” he said at a press conference. “When I go to the other city, then my older brother took that role and he lived with me. Then we came to the United States, and then my brother, Nemanja, who lived here before ... we get together, and it’s just a nice journey.”

Related: The Jokić Brothers: Everything to Know About Nikola, Strahinja and Nemanja

While speaking with his Nuggets teammate Michael Porter Jr. on his podcast Curious Mike in 2023, Nikola revealed he hopes to live a normal life with his family upon retirement.

“How I want to see myself is to be around the family, spending days probably [with] my kid ... and spend the rest of the day with the horses,” Nikola said.

From their lives in Sombor to supporting Nikola’s NBA career, here’s everything to know about Nikola Jokić's parents, Branislav and Nikolina Jokić.

Branislav and Nikolina raised Nikola and his brothers in a two-bedroom apartment in Serbia

<p>Misko Raznatovic Instagram</p> Nikola Jokic and his brother as kids.

Misko Raznatovic Instagram

Nikola Jokic and his brother as kids.

Nikola comes from humble beginnings. He was raised by Branislav and Nikolina in a two-bedroom apartment in Sombor — a small town in northern Serbia — with his two brothers and grandmother.

In 2016, Nikola wrote an essay for The Player’s Tribune about his life growing up in Serbia.

“Our apartment was really small. We had two rooms: kitchen, bathroom. It was my mom, dad, me, my two brothers and my grandma,” Nikola said. “It was always a full house. My brothers — cousins really, but in Serbia we call them brothers — also came over. It was always a full house of people, and we always mess around. We were crazy kids. We were making a lot of noise.”

Nikolina noticed Nikola’s interest in basketball when he was a baby

Nikola may be the most well-known basketball player in his family, but Nikolina and Branislav’s first two sons, Strahinja and Nemanja, also played basketball. Nikolina even noticed Nikola’s attentiveness and interest in his brothers playing basketball when he was just a baby.

“Yeah, that’s how I came to love basketball. My mom said even before I could remember, when I still had a pacifier, I would just sit and watch [my brothers] play [basketball],” Nikola told Denver Stiffs in 2016. “They were kids too, but I just loved how they moved. I would just sit there for hours and watch them.”

Branislav helped Nikola decide to play basketball professionally instead of horse racing

<p>ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty</p> Nikola Jokic's father Branislav


Nikola Jokic's father Branislav

According to Branislav, Nikola’s priorities in life are simple: basketball, horses and family. While Nikola’s older brothers started playing basketball at a young age, Nikola began to explore his fondness for horses.

“He started growing, both in height and in size, and he started to become aware that he could be a basketball player, but he had a great desire in those days,” Branislav told in June 2023. “He would say, ‘Dad, I want to become a horseman.’ And I used to tell him: ‘Son, become a basketball player first, and you’ll become a great horseman later.’ ”

Branislav still supports Nikola’s love of horses today and even named his horse stable — which features a black-and-white picture of Nikola being pulled by horses in Branislav’s office — after Nikola’s first horse: Dreamcatcher. When Nikola’s career is over, he plans to become a trotting coach and fulfill his lifelong dream of working with horses.

“My dream is to move back to Serbia and become a trotting coach,” Nikola told TV4, per Marca. “My country is unfortunately the worst in Europe on trotting. And there are maybe 150 starting horses and it is very complicated. But it's still great fun.”

Nikola’s mom comes to visit and cook meals for him in Denver

Nikola often talks about how much he misses home as the United States is very culturally different from Serbia.

"I'm homesick," he told Bleacher Report in 2017. "I want to go home right now. I mean, I am the third kid, and I am a little closer with my parents than [my brothers] are."

With Nikola being so far away from home, his mother sometimes comes to visit and makes sure to cook some of her signature Serbian dishes.

Branislav is known as one of Nikola’s loudest fans and inspired his kids to be the same way

<p>Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty</p> Nikola Jokic (15) of the Denver Nuggets celebrates the NBA championship with his brother Strahinja after defeating the Miami Heat 94-89 in 2023

Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty

Nikola Jokic (15) of the Denver Nuggets celebrates the NBA championship with his brother Strahinja after defeating the Miami Heat 94-89 in 2023

Nikola’s brothers, Strahinja and Nemanja, are known for their presence and loud cheering at Nuggets games. However, that began with Branislav cheering loudly for Nikola and his brothers when they were growing up.

According to Nemanja, Branislav is still incredibly loud when cheering for his son today.

"Our dad is really passionate about watching the games," Nemanja told Bleacher Report in 2017 of his parents' recent visit to Denver. "He screams, yells. Nobody sits around him."

They are grandparents to Nikola’s daughter Ognjena, whose name holds special meaning

<p>Justin Edmonds/Getty</p> Nikola Jokic kissing his daughter Ognjena on the cheek

Justin Edmonds/Getty

Nikola Jokic kissing his daughter Ognjena on the cheek

In September 2021, Nikola and his wife Natalija welcomed their daughter Ognjena. While Ognjena’s name literally translates to “fiery,” her moniker also holds another meaning.

During an interview with in 2023, Branislav spoke about how the name of Nikola’s daughter showed his growth as a person.

“I’ll tell you a story about Nikola ... When he arrived in Denver, he had a Serbian coach for player development, Ognjen Stojaković,” Branislav said. “Nikola didn’t like him because he made him work extremely hard. When Nikola’s daughter was born, he named her Ognjena. He understood what that coach did for him.”

Related: All About Nikola Jokić's Daughter, Ognjena

Branislav and Nikolina had to watch Nikola win the 2023 NBA Championship from Serbia

Branislav and Nikolina wanted to fly to Denver to watch Nikola hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy after winning the 2023 NBA championship. However, they needed to stay home and look after the horses at their stable.

"I didn't go to the NBA Finals because someone had to take care of all the horses here ... At the start of the fifth game in the finals, I was with my wife, but after that, I was alone. I was too nervous,” Branislav told “There are a lot of mixed emotions. My son did something that is every child's dream. It saddens me greatly that I wasn't there with him at that moment.”

Branislav also spoke about how he wasn’t just proud of seeing Nikola win on the court, but how he conducted himself in the immediate aftermath of winning the championship.

“What was amazing was how he behaved right after winning the championship (referring to his son going and high fiving all the Miami players). Those qualities were always in him. Understanding the defeated, being empathetic, humble,” Branislav continued. “He was always a good kid. When his daughter was born, it became even more apparent. His priorities are family, horses and basketball.”

Nikola plans to move back to Serbia to be with his family when he retires

<p>Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty</p> Nikola Jokic with his father Branislav Jokic at the hippodrome on June 18, 2023 in Sombor, Serbia.

Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty

Nikola Jokic with his father Branislav Jokic at the hippodrome on June 18, 2023 in Sombor, Serbia.

Nikola may have experienced all life has to offer for an NBA superstar in the United States, but whenever the season is over, he can’t wait to be back home with his family. After winning the 2023 NBA Championship, Nikola expressed that his primary focus was making sure he got home in time for horse racing in Serbia.

“On Sundays, I have my horse racing,” Nikola told NBA TV. “I don’t know how I’m going to arrive [in time] with Thursday [being] the parade. Friday maybe? I’m going to ask [Nuggets owner Josh Kroenke] for a plane.”

In 2017, while speaking with Bleacher Report about topics including how close he was with his family, Nikola told them that he wanted to move back home to Sombor once he retires.

"After my career is over, I'm gonna go back there," Nikola said. "It's super slow — not too much going on — but you have everything. You have a canal, nature; you can get peace of mind outside the city. I just like to be someplace where I know how to drive a car without navigation. How I say, no place like home? Something like that."

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