Caleb Swanigan approached Jusuf Nurkic after the game. “Hey, great game Nurk, Dame might have hit the game-winner but this win was all you, man!”
Jusuf, who was seated at his locker, didn’t reply. He simply stared straight ahead, not moving or reacting to the rookie’s congratulations. Caleb turned to a nearby C.J. McCollum. “Yo, C.J., is this some rookie prank or something? Why ain’t he doing anything?”
C.J. saw the state his Bosnian teammate was in and shrugged. “He gets like that after games sometimes. It’s like he’s in the zone or something, you just have to wait for him to snap out of it. Sometimes we leave him here overnight.”
“Cool, I guess,” Caleb said, experimentally waving his hands in front of Jusuf’s face, attempting to provoke a response. “It’s good to have focus.”
“Yeah, but in this case it’s like his mind is in a place where all he can do is think about how much he hates Nikola Jokic,” C.J. replied. “It’s not healthy for him, man.”
As if on cue, Jusuf let out a muted, emotionless mumble. “I hating Nikola Jokic. He is ruinings career.” The expression on his face didn’t change, and as soon as he finished speaking, he became silent and motionless again.
Now Caleb looked slightly worried. “I wonder what it’s like to hate somebody so much that it becomes a basic part of your brain.”
“Well, whatever you do, don’t ask him about Jokic while he’s conscious or awake or cognizant or whatever,” C.J. replied. He’ll flip out. Usually he destroys stuff while yelling about Jokic this and Jokic that and Jokic ruined my life.”
“Got it.” Caleb took one last look into those blank, unseeing eyes and wondered what boundless depths of insanity lurked behind them.