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The sweet way Nikola Jokić keeps his wedding ring close during Denver Nuggets' games

Nikola Jokic, Natalija Jokic
Posted at 3:40 PM, Jun 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-15 13:52:19-04

If you paid close attention, you might have spotted something special looped in the shoelaces of the MVP of the 2023 NBA Finals.

Peek at Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokić's left shoe and you'd see a single ring — his wedding ring.

Nuggets Suns Basketball
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) shoots over Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, right, during the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball Western Conference semifinal game, Sunday, May 7, 2023, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Nuggets 129-124. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Before every game, he slipped it off his finger, untied the laces on his left shoe, looped it through the ring and retied his shoe.

He recently told the NBA that he started doing this after his wedding as a tribute to his family.

"I have (a) wedding ring on my shoe just because it's family — something that (is) just really important to me," he said in an interview. "And they are always by my side. I just want to give them the love... And that's something that is mine. Nobody can take it away from me."

Jokić said this tradition came from a former teammate in Serbia. Since all the action in games can sometimes result in a ring breaking or bending, this is an alternate way to keep his family close.

Jokić and his wife Natalija have a sweet backstory: They began dating in high school in Serbia when they were just 17 years old, according to People. They got married in October 2020 and welcomed their daughter Ognjena, now 1, into the world in September 2021.

Nikola Jokic
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic warms up before Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, Sunday, June 4, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Natalija and Ognjena have attended every game of the playoffs, cheering the Nuggets and Jokić through a clean sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers and five games against the Miami Heat. The team won their first NBA Championship on Monday night and Jokić was named NBA Finals MVP.

The team will be celebrated in Denver with a parade on Thursday.

When asked about if he was looking forward to those plans after the championship win on Monday, Jokic candidly said, "No, I need to go home."

Jokić usually spends the offseason in Serbia with his family.

While Jokić is mostly private about his family life, it's clear from watching him play that family is at the forefront of his mind. He often sends air kisses up to his wife and daughter, and points to his open palm while looking at his daughter — a nod to a Serbian children's book about a hedgehog that his daughter enjoys.