CJ McCollum shares a heartwarming story about his fellow Jusuf Nurkic

2022-02-12 09:21
Credit: AFP-Scanpix
Credit AFP-Scanpix

Long-time Portland Trail Blazers star guard CJ McCollum was traded to New Orleans Pelicans earlier this week, but his heart is still with Rip City.

He was drafted with the 10th overall pick in 2013 and stayed in Portland till February 8, 2022.

The NBA's Most Improved Player in 2015-16, owns career averages of 19.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists over 564 duels (467 starts). He ranks second in Blazers history with 1,297 career 3-pointers, trailing longtime backcourt partner and his buddy Damian Lillard (2,143).

Jusuf Nurkic

Jusuf  Nurkic
Team: Portland Trail Blazers
Position: PF, C
Age: 27
Height: 212 cm
Weight: 127 kg
Birth place: Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Though, Dame is not his only beloved person met in Portland. CJ McCollum went on The Players' Tribune and shared his emotional letter to the whole Trail Blazers franchise.

He also shared a special and joyful story regarding the relationship with his "Bosnian brother for life" – Jusuf Nurkic.

"I'll never forget when he fractured his leg in 2019, and he was stuck on the couch, I'd always be FaceTiming him to make sure he was cool. But then, one day, I decided to stop by his place, and when I came in all I heard was gibberish coming from the TV room, and he flipped the channel to SportsCenter or something. And I was like, 'Bro, don't mind me. It's your house. Let's watch whatever you normally watch.'

He is like, 'You sure you want to watch what I watch?' 

I am like, 'Yeah, why not?'

And that's when I got introduced to Bosnian television. And we're not talking subtitles here. This was the pure uncut internet live stream straight from Bosnia. There was a lot going on. I want to call it a soap opera, but it was also kind of like a comedy. There was a handyman, and he was pursuing a young woman, and that seemed to be the main plot point, but then they'd flip it and do all sorts of crazy bits.

I kept turning to Nurk, 'Alright, so he's a mechanic now? And he's trying to get with her, or…?'

I'd be thinking it was a serious scene, and then Nurk would start laughing and looking at me like, 'funny right?' This guy is crazy.

And all this time, Nurk's luxurious imported cats are roaming around the house, and he's drinking his customary 7-to-10 cups of coffee. It's a whole vibe when you go to Nurk's place.

After I got traded, when I called Nurk to tell him I left a jersey on his chair, he said, 'Oh, I already got one.'

I said, 'What?'

He said, 'Yeah, I stole one from the equipment room after your last game.' "

Jusuf Nurkic came to Portland on a trade deal in 2017, after the three-year stint with Denver Nuggets (2014-17). The 22-year-old at that time was a perfect fit for the team, averaging 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists over 20 games.

However, his successful play was interrupted by a horrific injury - his lower leg was broken. The severe setback sidelined him for 16 months but he returned as good as before.

This season the Bosnian big man is posting double-double averages of 14.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 53 games.

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