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Jusuf Nurkic Reflects on Pandemic, Goal to Assist Home Country

The Blazers big discussed some of the ways he’s sought to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina during the pandemic.

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Over the past two seasons, the NBA has had to join the rest of the world in adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne went into detail on how the league, and in particular, league commissioner Adam Silver, helped pivot the league effectively [subscription required]. Within that piece were anecdotes from some of the players most affected. Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic shared his thoughts on his fight to get vaccinations to his home country and how it affected him personally.

As Shelburne notes, Nurkic’s native land, Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed 200,000 cases and 9,600 deaths, a circumstance that prompted Nurkic to seek ways to help.

“They just have donations, but not enough to vaccinate the people,” Nurkic says. “I tried to buy it for the whole country. I figured out the money, the plan and everything. But we still can’t do it.

“Even if we find vaccines, I guess United States laws say that until the American people are vaccinated, you can’t sell it. So, I don’t know what else to do. I really tried.”

During the tail end of 2019-20’s season in the bubble, Nurkic was among those publicly affected by the pandemic through the loss of his grandmother. He elaborated on his psyche during that time, and what he would have done differently if he could:

“After 17 days, she survived the COVID,” Nurkic says. “Then on Day 19, she had a heart attack. It was unbelievable.”

Nurkic got the news as he was on a bus to a game.

“At that point, I wished I could just take a plane to go to the funeral,” he says. “Probably, if I could do it again, I would do that. It’s difficult when you’re really far away.”

Nurkic, has one year remaining on his contract with the Blazers.

Hat tip to Blazer’s Edge reader LaGoonch for bringing the topic to our attention! If you see news, share it at blazersub (at) gmail (dot) com!