It was a lot easier to at least have one year of high school here and learn the language. I understood it, but I had a very big accent. People didn’t understand what I was saying, but I didn’t care. I knew French, so that helped. I watched a lot of movies and TV and read a lot of books. My high school coach had the box set of "24" and the basketball movie "He Got Game" with [Celtics guard] Ray Allen. He was pretty good, actually.
2. Your father, Borislav, was an ironman forward who played professionally in Europe for 24 years. Who is better?
He was a small forward. I’m a center. It’s hard to compare. He says I’m more skilled than he was at this age. It was easier for me to be more skilled. His dad didn’t want him to play basketball. Where I’m from, sports like basketball weren’t big back then. There wasn’t much money in them. He had no one to teach him. He taught me everything. I would go to practices with him.
3. What is the legacy of late Drazen Petrovic, the trailblazing Croatian who played for the Nets but died in a car accident at 28?
It’s huge. People love him. He’s probably the best player to come out of that region ever. But I didn’t see him play. My idols were my dad and Michael Jordan, Vlade Divac and [Serbian star] Dejan Bodiroga, who is the best player I’ve ever seen.
4. You were born in Switzerland, raised as a young boy in Belgium, moved to Montenegro as a teen and were schooled in America, where you work. What are you?
I’m Montenegran. I love being there. My parents are there. People are surprised about how really beautiful it is there because all they know is the war. People have moved on from that. I was too young to remember it. Montenegro is near the coast. We have nice beaches. It’s close to mountains. It’s similar to California. Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro — it’s a really nice region.
5. It’s easy to forget you’re only 21, making a high-profile living in a foreign country. Must be, um, nice to have your big sister living with you here?
Yes. It was a family idea, so, you know, I’m not by myself. She came when I came to Philadelphia. She cooks, sometimes. It’s just nice to have somebody from my family here.