http://grantland.com/the-triangle/modern-goon-jusuf-nurkic-denver-nuggets/It’s tough being a goon in the modern NBA. A willingness to be ejected for ’bowing an opponent in the windpipe doesn’t naturally coincide with increasingly necessary tasks like protecting the rim, chasing lithe forwards with 3-point range, and spacing the floor with perimeter shooting. The ranks of Reggie Evans and Tyler Hansbrough have begun to dwindle.
Jusuf Nurkic1 may be the futuristic goon we’ve all been yearning for. The Nuggets’ hulking 20-year-old rookie is listed at 6-foot-11 and 280 pounds, moves like a danseuse, and looks like he’ll be a nightly double-double threat in Denver for the next decade. More importantly, despite not speaking much English, he’s already demonstrated a preternatural knack for aggravation.
See, the Bosnian Bear doesn’t care about your All-Star status. He sneers at it. After draining a jumper against Sacramento, he made faces at DeMarcus Cousins while backpedaling. He swatted Blake Griffin, then barked at the Clippers bench. And against the Grizzlies, he rejected Marc Gasol and jawed with the Spanish goliath until being chaperoned back to the sideline by jubilant teammates. In their recent rematch, Nurkic was booed by the Memphis crowd during introductions.
“He has a nasty attitude,” Denver coach Brian Shaw told Grantland. “He’s one of those guys that gets under your skin. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’d rather have a guy out there that’s pissing people off than a guy who’s buddy-buddy with everyone.”
It starts with the face. Nurkic’s mug is wide and expressive, with a crooked smile that oscillates between snarl and mocking hoot. There’s a hint of Eastern European recklessness in his demeanor, of boxy haircuts and bad stonewashed denim, of ice-pick stabbings at techno clubs seen on grainy black-and-white security camera footage. He’s the basketball version of Nelson Muntz, although “ha-ha” is more easily translated than whatever Nurkic is muttering on the court. Just imagine the indignities he’ll spew at Blake after a few months of Rosetta Stone.
Videos in the link are awesome. This guy isn't afraid of anyone in the league. Gotta love that attitude.