He hit the ground running this decade as a teenage star-in-the-making whose promise was realized year after year until he returned to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague this season with the biggest role of his career. Nikola Mirotic became part of Real Madrid’s rotation in late 2010 and received the Rising Star Trophy for that season and the next, becoming the award’s first back-to-back winner. He also became the youngest MVP of the Month until that time in December of 2011.
Mirotic went from rising to bona fide star immediately, as fans and media chose him for the All-EuroLeague Second Team in the 2012-13 season, when he set the competition’s single-game record for free throws made, 18 of 18. He and Real led the 2013 championship game in London by 17 points, only to lose to Olympiacos Piraeus. Mirotic won his second MVP of the Month honor in October of 2013 to start a season in which Real returned to the title game but lost to Maccabi Tel Aviv in overtime.
- EuroLeague Rising Star 2010-11, 2011-12
- All-EuroLeague Second Team 2012-13, 2013-14
- December MVP 2011
- October MVP, 2013
After five years in the NBA, Mirotic last summer joined Real rival FC Barcelona on a long-term contract. Their goal is to bring the EuroLeague title back to Barcelona with Mirotic as the team leader. His wealth of experience and talent belie Mirotic’s young age, 28. As he enters his prime with long-term security and full support, the best may well be yet to come for Mirotic in Barcelona.