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The new life of Nikola Pekovic: from the NBA to links with drug trafficking

The former center of the Minnesota Timberwolves is currently being connected to the brothers Darko and Dusko Saric, famous drug dealers.

Nikola Pekovic, en un partido durante su etapa como jugador de los Timberwolves.
Jesse JohnsonUSA Today Sports

In a league as predominant as the NBA, in which very few Europeans manage to gain a foothold in one of its franchises, Nikola Pekovic was a success. A rough, physical center, a dominator in the area, a player who reached the ‘best basketball league in the world’ to remain with the Minnesota Timberwolves for seven seasons, of which he played six.

Pekovic’s journey into and out of the NBA

A relatively short but fruitful journey, and that is that in 2013 he statistically became the best European center in the entire NBA, with 17.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, ranking in front of the iconic brothers, Pau and Marc Gasol. A golden age that ended too early, as only three years later he was forced to retire, at the age of 30, due to injuries, and with a fortune of more than 73 million dollars .

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It was then that his life took a radical turn, and in 2017, months after his retirement, he had several problems with the Belgrade police, who found drugs and weapons in an Audi with American plates, one which was registered in Pekovic’s name. The former player was not in the vehicle, but Radojko Tomasevic and Ivan Golocevaa were, who have close ties with Darko and Dusko Saric, two of the most famous drug traffickers in the world.

Godfather and ‘mobster’

The story did not stop there, because with the ongoing investigation, Pekovic was called to testify and speak with the police officers, and at no time did he deny being a friend of Dusko Saric, going as far as to say that he was the godfather of his son.

It is said that Nikola Pekovic is currently the owner of a hotel and a nightclub that are also linked to Dusko, who is serving a prison sentence, as reported by Open Court, who also claim that “according to many sources in the region of Serbia and Montenegro, nobody talks about Nikola as a former basketball player, but as a mobster.

This lifestyle is not an isolated case in the NBA, with the likes of Caron Butler, former player and current assistant coach at the Miami Heat, who confessed that he was also connected with drug dealers, getting into the business as early as 11 years of age. He was the 10th overall pick in the NBA draft and these days is set on helping others find a different path than the one he took as a kid.