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T-Wolves’ Nemanja Bjelica has fantastic nickname: ‘Professor Big Shots’


New Minnesota Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica’s name may be difficult one to pronounce for Americans, but his nickname certainly isn’t:

Professor Big Shots.

The Timberwolves selected the Bjelica, 27, in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft, and he is expected to be on the team’s roster for the upcoming season after signing a three-year deal in July.

According to a Star Tribune report, the Serbian’s name, when pronounced correctly, should sound like “Nem-en-ya Bee-a-lihzt-ah.” But Bjelica indicates it occurs quite often that people mispronounce it.

“I’ve heard everything,” he said Wednesday. “I don’t have a problem with that because they couldn’t say my name in Turkey or Spain, so no problem.”

Since being drafted by the Wolves, Bjelica has made a name for himself across the pond, including winning the 2015 Euroleague MVP after helping lead Serbia to the semifinals in the European Championships.

The Professor Big Shots moniker came to life organically, and Bjelica seems to have taken a shine to it.

“They call me that in Turkey and also that one game in Germany,” he said. “I like these nicknames. I don’t know why [they call me that]. You have to ask them. My friends call me that [because] I do everything on the court, blah, blah, blah. I’m probably not Professor because I finished university.”

says his friends actually have bestowed upon him another quite interesting nickname: Belly.

“Not belly, like stomach,” he said. “But like writing, because of my last name. Call me Belly, is much easier for my friends.”

Bjelica obviously has experienced quite of bit of success in Europe. It remains to be seen what kind of impact he’ll have on the court stateside and if he will ever live up to such a phenomenal nickname.

(image via