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Jusuf Nurkic ‘changing people’s lives’ through his charity work in Bosnia

trail Blazers

Jusuf Nurkic’s altruism often goes unnoticed.

The Bosnian big man has emerged as one of the Trail Blazers star players since being traded to Portland in 2017, but he’s never forgotten where he came from.

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ESPN’s “The Jump,” highlighted the philanthropic work Nurkic’s done in his native country which includes donating $50,000 worth of PPE kits to hospitals struggling with COVID-19, donating $40,000 to help rebuild a roof on the largest hospital in his hometown, building homes for three single mothers and families, donating 5,000 food packages which helped 12,000 people and more.

When asked why it’s important to give back to his home country, Nurkic explained that being born in 1994 and growing up during the Bosnian War was particularly difficult.

“It was just tough. No chance, no opportunities,” Nurkic explained. “For me personally, I will invest my money… time to figure out the best way we can support the kids growing up. There’s a lot of poor people in Bosnia that only have one meal a day, which is insane. How much money countries and governments get…


For me, as an individual, you can change, impact, the people’s lives.

- Jusuf Nurkic

The Trail Blazers center detailed the hardships women face in the Bosnian community, including having to wait over two years to get a mammogram due to limited resources. That’s why Nurkic stepped in to donate mammogram machines to Bosnian hospitals in need.

“Back home, there’s a thing like mammograms and women need to wait a couple years to get a date to just see a mammogram machine, which is insane,” Nurkic said. “I feel like last 20 something years to wait two-plus years to give a damn date, so we decided as my foundation to buy them, and donate them. We already have an agreement with the government and hometown to figure out a program for the women with the breast cancer...

Bring more awareness about it, so I think that’s going to be huge.

- Jusuf Nurkic

Nurkic’s efforts off-the-court are certainly worth praise, and Trail Blazers fans can’t wait to see him suited up once again following All-Star Break. The 7-footer underwent surgery in January to repair a fracture in his right wrist.

He is itching to get back on the court.

“The wrist is doing great,” Nurkic said. “Pretty much almost there. It’s kind of finishing up, so I just need to make sure I’m not doing shortcuts now because it’s almost there. Expect it to be in the timeline somewhere after All-Star Break obviously. If not right after All-Star, I think a week or two will be just fine.”