Iconic center for Maccabi double-champs joins Joe Arlauckas
In the newest episode of the The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas, one of the most versatile big men to ever take the court, Nikola Vujcic, tells the story of how he survived a war-interrupted youth to become a two-time Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion, a five-time All-EuroLeague selection and an all-decade honoree, not to mention the author of the only two triple-doubles in EuroLeague history.
Vujcic grew up on a farm and started playing basketball late, at age 14, just as his father went off to war. He soon proved to be the newest jewel in the crown of KK Jugoplastika Split, the Croatian powerhouse that won three Final Fours a few years earlier. Vujcic honed his game practicing in pick-up games every summer with EuroLeague champions, world champions, NBA champions and Olympic medalists like Toni Kukoc, Dino Radja, Zan Tabak, Velimir Perasovic.
"Very young I understood that experience is something that when you can get it for free from somebody, it is the best present you can get," Vujcic says.
His success in Split led him to become the anchor in the paint for back-to-back EuroLeague champions at Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2004 and 2005.
"I had a dream. You know, I grew up in Jugoplastika, that won three titles in a row," Vujcic tells Arlauckas. "So from the beginning, my only dream was to win the EuroLeague."
Vujcic helped revive Split after his retirement as a player and is now the general manager of Maccabi. But he still finds time to be a Global Ambassador for Euroleague Basketball's ground-breaking social responsibility program, One Team.
"You see it happening, this pure happiness of these kids," Vujcic said of one team. "You give them hope, you give them something that they want to be part of, and this is great."
With a one-hour format of exclusive one-on-one interviews, The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas goes well beyond the playing court with each podcast to delve into the life experiences that have made his guests protagonists and legends of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.
The Crossover debuted with Olympiacos Piraeus head coach David Blatt and has since featured Fabien Causeur of Real Madrid, Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens and Robertas Javtokas of Zalgiris Kaunas, among others.
The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas is available on iTunes, Audioboom, Spotify, Deezer, RadioPublic, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, CastBox and other platforms.