Former Timberwolves center and EuroLeague champion Nikola Pekovic has been hospitalized due to the Coronavirus, according to Serbian website Telegraf.
The same website reported that the 34-year-old Peković was admitted to a medical facility in Podgorica (the capital city of Montenegro) in late September after experiencing Covid-19 symptoms. His condition is said to have deteriorated during the past several days, with inflammation in both lungs requiring the need for a respirator.
However, Peković’s family later refuted Telegraf’s account regarding the severity of his condition. In a statement made on another Serbian website Blic, they insisted that Peković was “in stable condition” and “breathing independently” without the aid of a respirator. They added that Pekovic was admitted to the hospital only as a precaution; so that he can be closely monitored by doctors and medical staff.
Peković, a citizen of Montenegro, is currently the manager of the Montenegrin national basketball team. At 19 years old, Peković started his pro career with national champions Partizan Belgrade. He won the EuroLeague championship while playing for Panathinaikos in 2009 and was named to the All-EuroLeague First Team during the same year. He also served as president of Partizan from 2015 to 2017.
He joined the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010 and gained a reputation as one of the most powerful big men of his time. At 6’11” (2.11 m) and 307 pounds (139 kg), Peković was an imposing, intimidating presence in the paint. Andre Drummond of the Cleveland Cavaliers called him “the strongest human I’ve ever played against.”
His career in Minnesota lasted seven seasons where he averaged 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game with 51.8 percent shooting from the field. His last three seasons with the franchise were plagued by ankle and foot injuries. He played only 12 games during the 2015-2016 season and surgery on his right Achilles tendon caused him to miss the entire 2016-2017 season. The Timberwolves waived Peković shortly thereafter.
We at This Is Basketball wish Nikola “The Godfather” Peković a full and speedy recovery.