No dream is too big for you. If you have willpower and dedication, you can achieve anything.
Nemanja Bjelica is a perfect example of this. Nemanja was just an ordinary child born in Serbia who often daydreamed of playing in the NBA.
His friends would laugh it off as a joke as he was not a basketball prodigy whom people would believe in making it big. But, though he was not born with the skills, he acquired them through constant practice and effort.
That’s how he is one of the popular NBA players now playing for different NBA teams, including the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, Miami Heat, and Golden State Warriors.
The Serbian player was drafted into the NBA by Washington Wizards in 2010 and has played in the NBA since then. As for his professional basketball career, he started playing in 2007 in the Austrian and European leagues.
In addition, the power forward has earned several honors and awards and is a valuable national player representing Serbia in international tournaments.
How did an ordinary child from Serbia make it to NBA and become an international basketball player? Make sure to read to the end of the article to figure it out.
Furthermore, it will provide a deep insight into his early life, personal life, and net worth. But, before that, let’s start with his quick facts.
|Full Name||Nemanja Bjelica|
|Date of Birth||9 May 1988|
|Age||34 years old|
|Birth Place||Belgrade, SR Serbia, Yugoslavia|
|Height||6’9″ (2.06 meters)|
|Weight||234 pounds (106 kg)|
|Hair Color||Dark Brown|
|Father’s Name||Milovan Bjelica|
|Mother’s Name||Slavica Bjelica|
|High School||Aca Janjic basketball school|
|Children||Two: Nika Bjelica (daughter) and Stefan Bjelica (son)|
|NBA Draft||35th overall pick in the second round by Washington Wizards|
|Awards and achievements|
|Net Worth||$9 million|
|Social Media||Instagram, Twitter|
|Merch||Basketball Trading Card|
|Last Update||December 2022|
Nemanja Bjelica | Early Life
On 9 May 1988, Nemanja Bjelica was born in Belgrade, SR Serbia, Yugoslavia. He is the son of Milovan Bjelica (father) and Slavica Bjelica (mother).
Furthermore, Nemanja was passionate about basketball from an early age. But, he was not a basketball prodigy. He had to polish his skills to come to where he is now.
When he was playing basketball with his friends, he told them that he would play in the NBA one day. However, his friends mocked him and laughed it off as a joke, but he was serious.
Unfortunately, there is no information about Nemanja’s education. However, it is known that Nemanja started playing basketball professionally at a young age.
So, it can be assumed he only completed his education up to his high school.
Age, Height & Weight
Nemanja Bjelica was born in 1988, making him 42 years old. People born in May are Taurus.
Furthermore, Nemanja was born in Belgrade, SR Serbia, Yugoslavia. He currently lives in Minnesota, USA.
Though Nemanja has lived in the USA for years now, he identifies himself as a Serbian and of white ethnicity.
Also, Bjelica is 6 feet 9 inches (2.06 meters) tall and weighs around 234 pounds (106 kg). Nemanja has black eyes and dark brown hair.
Nemanja Bjelica | Professional Career
Early Career and Euro League
Bjelica started playing basketball during his school days. He was part of the high school basketball team at Aca Janjic basketball school.
The athlete learned and polished his basketball skill to become a professional basketball player. He played for Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions of the Austrian League in the 2007-08 season.
Later, he returned from Austria and played for the Serbian team Crvena Zvezda. Afterward, he earned his place in the first lineup and became one of the team’s most famous members.
His performance in Eurocup was notable and helped him gain the attention and recognition he deserved. Shortly after, he was drafted into NBA, making his dream come true.
In 2010, Nemanja Bjelica was drafted 35th overall in the second round by Washington Wizards. Later, his draft rights were traded to Minnesota Timberwolves.
But, Nemanja did not play for NBA after he was drafted. He went to play for a Spanish club, namely Saski Baskonia, and the Turkish team Fenerbahce Ulker.
He finally signed with Minnesota Timberwolves on 14 July 2015 and made his debut in NBA. Nemanja played with Minnesota for three years and later signed a three-year deal with Sacramento Kings.
On 25 March 2021, Bjelica was dealt with Miami Heat, and later, he signed a contract with the Golden state warriors.
Nemanja is currently playing for the Golden state warriors and became the first player to post a double-double off the bench in the NBA history.
Nemanja Bjelica has played in several international tournaments. He was a senior Serbian national basketball team member that won the silver medal in EuroBasket 2009.
Further, he was also a part of the Serbian national team in the 2010 FIBA World Championship and EuroBasket 2011.
He was also a part of the Serbian national basketball team, which won silver in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and Serbia’s EuroBasket 2015 team.
Awards and Achievements
- Best Athlete of SD Crvena Zvezda (2009)
- March Euroleague MVP of the Month with Fenerbahce (2015)
- All-EuroLeague First Team (2015)
- EuroLeague MVP (2015)
- Serbian Player of the Year (2015)
- Turkish League champion (2014)
- Turkish Presidential Cup winner (2013)
- All-Serbian League First Team (2010)
- Two times Zadar Basketball Tournament winner (2014, 2015)
Wife and Children
Nemanja Bjelica is married to his long-term girlfriend, Mirjana Bjelica. The couple married in 2010 and are blessed with a daughter, Nika Bjelica, and a son, Stefan Bjelica.
Nemanja’s high school romance started with love at first sight, and he asked for Mirjana’s number. Mirjana, on the other hand, was intimidated by Nemanja’s height.
However, Mirjana would give the wrong number to the guys who would approach him. But maybe Mirjana knew Nemanja was right for her. So, she gave him the correct number.
He was eighteen when he found his true love. In addition, in the 2007 new year, Nemanja went to a restaurant to celebrate the day when he met nineteen-year-old Mirjana.
Things were hard for Nemanja at that time. Nemanja was just starting his basketball career in Austria and had to come back home due to sprained ankle.
That’s how the love sparked between them. After that, they started dating for several years before marrying in 2010.
Most importantly, Mirjana is a perfect partner who has seen Nemanja start his career from scratch and has supported him.
She even gave up his job to accompany Nemanja and move to the USA as he plays in NBA.
Children and Serbian Heritage
Despite settling down in the USA for years now, the couple misses their hometown in Serbia and tries to instill their children with Serbian heritage.
However, Nemanja‘s daughter, Nika, was raised in Minnesota, USA. There are cultural differences, and Nemanja says he wants his children to be a mix of American and Serbian mentality.
In addition, his son, Stefan, was born in the USA. So, he is the first family member to have an American passport.
Social Media Presence
Nemanja Bjelica is active on social media platforms, where he shares his personal and professional life with his fans and admirers.
Nemanja Bjelica | Net Worth and Salary
The net worth of Nemanja Bjelica is estimated to be $9 million. Bjelica’s net worth is derived from his primary profession as a professional basketball player.
The athlete signed an entry-level contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves for $11 million. Moreover, he signed his career’s most expensive deal with Sacramento Kings, worth $20 million for three years.
Likewise, his current salary is around $2 million. To sum up, he has earned around $33 million from his salary in the NBA.
Thus, the player made millions of dollars being an NBA player playing for different teams.
How did the Warriors get Nemanja Bjelica?
Nemanja Bjelica was traded to Miami Heat by Sacramento Kings. Warriors already had an eye on Nemanja, and as soon as he was traded off, they offered him the contract.
However, it took less than a minute for Bjelica to sign the contract. It was like he was looking for an offer. So, when he was offered the contract, he quickly signed it.
What are the overall NBA statistics of Nemanja Bjelica?
In his NBA career, Nemanja Bjelica played a total of 449 games which he started 162 games and played for 20.4 minutes per game.
Furthermore, he had an average of 4.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 1.8 assists, 0.4 blocks, and 7.6 points per game.