A terrific bit occurs any time Nikola Jokic talks to the Inside the NBA crew. You see, Jokic is one of the few players that Shaquille O’Neal openly adores, and any time the two cross paths because Jokic makes a cameo on the show, Shaq makes it a point to say something to him in Serbian, which Jokic really loves.
That happened on Tuesday night after Jokic had a triple-double in the Denver Nuggets’ season opening win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Ernie Johnson told Jokic that Shaq was about to come on the air, which got a smile and an emphatic “let’s go Shaq!” out of the reigning NBA Finals MVP. Shaq said “volim te,” which made Jokic laugh and got a “good job, Shaq!”
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 25, 2023
Much like me, Kenny Smith wanted to know what Shaq said here, and both the Hall of Fame center and the future Hall of Fame center responded that this was Serbian for “I love you.” The Inside crew can come under criticism for not always giving the current generation of players the love and respect that they deserve, but Jokic is absolutely not someone who gets that treatment. Everyone on the set is a legitimately huge fan of Jokic’s game, and it really does make for excellent television whenever they talk to him.