Like All Other NBA Players Heading to Disney, Nikola Vucevic Deciding What to Pack in His Luggage

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO – Nikola Vucevic has been in the NBA for nine seasons now. He’s been on many road trips – most that lasted a couple days, some half a week, few for an entire week and every so often ones that extended beyond that. Earlier this season, he was away from home for nearly two weeks when his Orlando Magic went on a five-city, six-game, 11-night trip that started in Phoenix and ended in Charlotte.

In a week, Vucevic and his teammates are going to arrive at Walt Disney World for the resumption of their season. At minimum, they will be there for a full month. If things go well on the court, they will be there for longer – perhaps much longer if they advance in the playoffs.

Yes, the hotel they will be staying at is down the road from where they live. But, because they will be sleeping and practicing at the Disney campus like all the players on the other teams, they will need to pack a fair amount of stuff.

While he hasn’t started packing just yet or determined exactly how many bags he will need, Vucevic has certainly been thinking about all the things he intends to bring. Of course, clothes will be the first thing that go into his bags. With the restart being held in Florida, Orlando’s 7-footer is planning on packing a ton of casual summer wear – so expect his pieces of luggage to be stocked full of t-shirts and shorts, maybe some tank tops as well.

Where it might get a bit tricky is figuring out what formal attire to bring. Vucevic likes to dress sharp, but he’s aware he will have to be more selective for this trip.

“Me having two-XL, three-XL clothes and 15, 16 size shoes, that takes like four bags, so I’m not going to bring that obviously,” the 29-year-old said. “I’m just going to have to go very casual in there.”

Next on the checklist are the items that will keep him busy during his down time. That includes video games, books and movies.

“That was my main focus,” he said. “Making sure I order everything I need to bring in there. We are going to be able to order things to get shipped there. But, you want to be prepared. Me being very organized in general, I made sure everything I would need in there is set up in there already.”

Regardless of what he ends up bringing, Vucevic is just eager to join his coaches and teammates at Disney for the season’s restart. The Magic were in a good rhythm before the league had to suspend the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. They won eight of their last 12 before the hiatus started.

Vucevic stayed sharp and in good shape while hunkered down in his home before he and his teammates were given the green light to return to the AdventHealth Practice Facility at Amway Center for voluntary individual workouts.

“The first two, two-and-a-half months once the season stopped and pretty much the whole world was on lockdown, I was just trying to do stuff at home. I had a Peloton bike. I did a lot of that. I had one of those rowing machines. I had a Concept2 machine. I did a lot of that. I found that very fun. I had some weights, so I lifted a lot as well. Once the restrictions started easing up a little bit, I started running outside as well,” he said.

“Obviously, I wasn’t in game shape or anything, but I was able to maintain a solid shape to where when we do come back, it wouldn’t take me too long to get back into basketball shape,” he added. “It’s been eight weeks now that we’ve been able to get back to the gym for four to five times a week, and I feel very good. Each week I feel better and better.”

Prior to the hiatus, Vucevic averaged 19.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 54 games. He missed 11 games in late November/early December with an ankle injury.

The Magic, like the other 21 teams participating in the season restart, will play eight seeding games before the playoffs begin. Their hope is to leapfrog the Brooklyn Nets for the seventh spot in the East, which will not only lock them in to the postseason for a second straight year but it would also likely keep them away from the mighty Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. If the team in ninth place when the seeding games end is within four games of the team in eighth, those two teams will compete in a play-in tournament for the final spot in the playoffs. The No. 9 team would have to beat the No. 8 team twice, while the No. 8 team will only have to win once. The Washington Wizards are currently in ninth.

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