Nikola Jokic thinks the chicken in the U.S. tastes bland

On Monday, ESPN’s Zach Lowe dropped a Q-&-A he conducted with Denver Nuggets budding star Nikola Jokic. The interview covered a lot of ground, including the new lineup combination, swearing and some dietary questions.

Center Nikola Jokić speaks to reporters at the Denver Nuggets press day, Sept. 26, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)pepsi center; nuggets; basketball; sports; kevinjbeaty; denver; colorado; denverite;
Center Nikola Jokić at the Denver Nuggets press day, Sept. 26, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) pepsi center; nuggets; basketball; sports; kevinjbeaty; denver; colorado; denverite;
Nikola Jokic says this country has bland chicken. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

On Monday, ESPN’s Zach Lowe dropped a Q-&-A he conducted with Denver Nuggets budding star Nikola Jokic. The interview covered a lot of ground, including the new lineup combination, swearing and some dietary questions.

Jokic lost a lot of weight when he came to Denver from his native Serbia in 2015. Apparently some of that had to do with Jokic weaning himself off Coca-Cola as well as giving up some tasty foods in exchange for blander but healthier options.

Here’s an excerpt from their exchange:

Lowe: You lost a lot of weight when you came to Denver. I know that cuisine. What was the hardest thing to give up?

Jokic: I mean, the food I ate before was normal food — chicken, rice, meat. But it is cooked in a different way there. Here, it doesn’t have any taste. I just need that taste, man. But it helped me, what (Steve) Hess (Denver’s director of athletic performance) and Felipe (Eichenberger, associate head strength and conditioning coach) did for me that summer.

They really prepared me for the NBA. I’m glad they did that to me.

Lowe: You must miss cevapi (a sausage made of three meats popular across the former Yugoslavia).

Jokic: We don’t have good cevapi here anyway.

Lowe: Rumor has it you have a stash of Serbian meat at home just in case you get a craving.

Jokic: Oh, of course. Come on. You have to. But the thing I miss the most is fish stew, with some pasta on the side. If you come to Serbia, you have to try it.

Lowe: That seems like something you should be allowed to eat.

Jokic: Yeah, but it is cooked in a different way there, I guess.

Lowe: Is it true you used to drink a gallon of Coca-Cola every day?

Jokic: Yeah. Maybe three liters or so. It was a lot.


“I just need that taste, man,” was my favorite part of that back and forth. I think I told my mom that once when we had chicken for the 16th night in a row. Let’s have tacos with a bunch of seasoning on the ground beef, you know?

I must admit I was unsure what cevapi was until I read about it in this Q-&-A. But sausage made with three different types of meat sounds delicious. The thought of Jokic keeping some stashed away in his apartment makes me happy.

You can read the entire Q-&-A here.

Subscribe to Denverite’s weekly sports newsletter here.

Christian Clark

Author: Christian Clark

Christian Clark covers sports. He's worked for outlets that include the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Oklahoman, Columbia Missourian and Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine. He likes music and Mexican food. Lots and lots of Mexican food.