Doug Gottlieb: The Real Reason Nikola Jokic Won't Appeal to American Fans

Doug Gottlieb: “What’s it called when you’re afraid of foreign things? A ‘xenophobe’? Foreign basketball is awesome. It’s different, unique— I’ve actually played in 12 different countries professionally for three different organizations. Last month I spent a month living and coaching in Israel. This is not me being a xenophobe, but we kind of are as a country. It’s going to be a hard sale on the American public that a team in the time zone we care the least about, that has done very little, and has the best player who we didn’t see play in high school, in college, and many of us haven’t seen play at all this year. He’s kind of awkward, he’s fun, he’s talented…by no means is this me taking away from who he is— he’s awesome… This is one of those deals where you get ‘we think this is an American sport’. Many of the things that we dismiss as ‘not important’, like playing in college basketball, it builds up a following. Why is Steph Curry so incredibly popular? He’s as good a dude as there’s ever been as a superstar and I think that helps, but we saw him play for Davidson. Then there’s the videos of him with his dad when his dad was a player. We’ve known LeBron since he was 17 years old and he jumped off the screen playing in a high school game at UCLA. There’s a relationship there, he’s one of ‘us.’ We know about his mom Gloria, and how he was raised without a dad, and then he brought his friends— we know them. We don’t know who Jokic is. We don’t know anything about him. He literally just arrived. He won the last two MVPs but nobody in the street knows that. They have zero clue. Wait for the reaction when he dominates Game 1 with a triple-double, people will be like ‘MAN, I’VE NEVER SEEN STUFF LIKE THAT!’ That’s what he does every game… ‘WELL, HE SHOOTS THESE ONE-FOOT SHOTS!’… I know. I don’t think we’re ready to turn over the American game to the foreign-born player even though we lost it awhile back. Embiid, Joker, Giannis, Luka— not born here, not raised here. Embiid at least played in college for a year but didn’t play in the NCAA Tournament. Let’s see how the world reacts to Mountain Time Zone, Denver Nuggets, nobody watches them in the regular season, no real history of success, taking on an eight-seed in the Finals.” (Full Segment Above)

Watch Doug Gottlieb explain why he thinks the 2023 NBA Finals will be a ‘hard sell’ for the American public, as Doug believes the average basketball fan will have a hard time identifying with a foreign-born star, Nikola Jokic, facing off with a no. 8 seed.

Check out the segment above as Gottlieb details why he doesn’t think American NBA fans will truly embrace the Denver Nuggets as the next potential dynasty.  

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