The Montenegro basketball player Nikola Mirotic, the best player of Barcelona in the Spanish basketball league Finals, spoke about his faith after receiving the MVP trophy.
Barcelona have won the Spanish Endesa Basketball League with a 3-0 victory over Real Madrid in the Finals.
The most outstanding player was Nikola Mirotic, one of the stars of the team on whom there was great pressure after it was leaked, shortly before the start of the final games, that Barcelona would end his contract.
However, Mirotic’s performance on the court was not affected by the conflict. The player from Montenegro (Balkans) delivered in his farewell appearance in the Blaugrana (blue and red) jersey, winning the title and receiving the Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophy.
Mirotic was praised because he lifted the championship trophy alongside his teammate Higgins, who could not play due to injury.
MIROTIC, #MVPMovistar de la final de la #LigaEndesa
"Quiero dar las gracias a todos los culés. Me han demostrado mucho amor y apoyo esta última semana"
"Me he quitado un peso de encima. Ellos merecían este título"#PlayoffLigaEndesa #ListosParaRomperla pic.twitter.com/vgG0GSmuLw
— Basket en Movistar Plus+ (@MovistarBasket) June 20, 2023
Later, in an interview, he said: “I just want to first thank our God, Jesus Christ, for giving strength to me, to my team, for the patience. And to all the culés [Barcelona fans] who have been with us, and have shown us so much support”.
Mirotic responded to the Movistar+ microphones with a statement that sounded like a farewell, given that the player acknowledged that these were probably his last games in Spain. “I’ve taken a big weight off my shoulders”, he added.
This is not the first time Nikola Mirotic has been outspoken about his Christian faith. In an interview this year, he explained what values define him. “I am a family man, a quiet man. Even when I’m with my family, I like to have time to be alone. I grew up in an Christian Orthodox family. I was taught to believe in God”, he said.
Mirotic has stood out in his career for his professionalism. “People who are not professional in sport don’t usually understand what kind of life we lead. I’ve always had pressure in my life. When I was on loan at Palencia [a small team], my father put a lot more pressure on me than my coach. If I played a bad game, I couldn’t stop thinking about how he would punish me”, Nikola explained.
Mirotic started playing basketball at the age of 13. A few months later he got a call from Spain. Madrid was interested in signing him. He and his family accepted the offer. It was a great challenge.
“When I arrived in Spain I knew I had to work harder than the local players and be twice as good. If they started training at 8pm, I was there at 7pm”, admitted the player, now 30.
Mirotic moved to the NBA and became an important player in the Chicago Bulls and the New Orleans Hornets. However, he returned to European competition in search of championships and a quieter life.
“When I was in the United States, I felt far away from everyone, even from my family. I was away for a long time, I took my job very seriously. Extra training, travelling... And there came a time when I stopped enjoying the court”, he explained.
Playing in the best basketball league of the world, he had a personal crisis that made him rethink what direction to take in his career. Family and faith again played an important role. “I wanted to go back to what I had as a kid. I wanted to spend time with my kids, go back to church...”, says Mirotic.
“Yes, I had a kind of crisis, a struggle with myself. Because on the pitch you need to transform yourself, to be competitive. But I’m not like that, so it wasn’t always easy”.
“My family is my priority. I wanted my children to grow up here in Europe. We talked a lot with my wife. It was the first time I put my family first in my career”, he confesses.
After the termination of his contract in Barcelona, Mirotic will now analyse the offers on the table. In Europe, many teams are eager to have him in their ranks. They are aware that they can count not only on his talent, but also on his professionalism and values.