Zach LaVine was “terrified” to ask Nikola Pekovic for his jersey number

2019-11-18T09:22:59+00:00 2019-11-18T09:12:38+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

18/Nov/19 09:22

Pekovic looked way too scary. Even to teammates.

By Eurohoops Team/

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine remembered that when he was a rookie with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he hesitated to ask Nikola Pekovic to give him the no. 14 jersey since he was… afraid of the Montenegrin center.

Actually, the word LaVine used was “terrified.”

Here’s what LaVine and ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on Pekovic, on the “Lowe Post” podcast:

Lowe: Pek was scary. Pek was legit scary.

LaVine: I came to the locker room one time and Pek was boxing. Full sweat boxing at a punching bag.

Lowe: I ate at a restaurant next to Pek once in Minneapolis. It was me and Damjan Rudez. Pek was at the next table. I’ve never seen a human being order more food at a restaurant. Food just kept appearing at the table. And he was like a rock. He wasn’t fat. He was a rock of muscle.

LaVine:  Coming out of college, I was number 14. I wanted to have that in the NBA. He had it. I didn’t even feel like asking. 

Lowe: Is that true?

LaVine: Realistically yeah. When I got traded here, Robin Lopez had 8. So I asked him for it. He’s a big guy but he’s really friendly. I wasn’t even gonna ask Pekovic for the number. I was terrified of him. 

Pekovic played 271 games with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2011 to 2016 and was waived in 2017. He suffered from persistent ankle pains and was forced to retire.

Before joining the Timberwolves, Pekovic played in EuroLeague with Partizan Belgrade and Panathinaikos. He won the title in 2009 and was named to the competition’s All-First Team with the latter.