This Croatian professional basketball player is as successful in the NBA as he is on the international scene where he represents his country. Although it was hard to say when exactly Mario Hezonja’s romance with this handball game began, it is known that he made great progress in this game already at the age of 12. Let us learn more about the little striker.
Who Is Mario Hezonja?
Anyone who is intensively involved in basketball games has probably heard the name Mario Hezonja. The Croatian professional basketball player plays for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Although he lives in the United States, he is not an American. Mario Hezonja comes from Dubrovnik, Croatia, where he was born on February 25th and in 1995. This explains why he is an international representative of the Croatian national team. Would you like to know more about this man? Come with us…
5 Facts You Need To Know About The B-baller
1. The Genesis and Pre NBA Professional Timeline
Mario’s affair with balls and nets goes back to the good old days. He started playing basketball when he was still a young guy. At the tender age of 12, he was raised to the level of a club in Croatia. He played two seasons for his home team Dubrovnik before signing a contract with another Croatian club, Zagreb, in 2010.
His professional career began sometime in July 2012 when he signed a 3-year contract with Spanish club Barcelona. He played temporarily in the reserve team of the club Barcelona and soon got the opportunity to participate in the EuroLeague for the first time. However, it was not a great performance. He only played two games and scored an average of 2.5 points and 2 rebounds in each game. Mario Hezonja injured himself during the game and unfortunately could not afford more games. He even had to decline the invitation to join the world team at the Nike Hoop summit.
The Croatian became a constant player in the Barcelona team during the EuroLeague season 2013-14 but was only allowed to play for a few minutes. The next season he started to play more frequently, which helped him a lot to improve his game.
2. Off To The NBA
Mario’s debut in the NBA was in 2015. After Barcelona was eliminated in the EuroLeague, he expressed his interest in this year’s NBA draft. Mario was finally recruited into the NBA by Orlando Magic with the fifth overall selection in the first round of the NBA Draft 2015. With a total of 79 appearances he finished his first NBA season (2015-16) with an average score of 6.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists.
For the next season (2016-17) Orlando Magic hired Frank Vogel as the new coach. Most of Mario’s games under Vogel did not look good and the new coach had to reduce his playing time. The 2017-18 season did not start well for the Croatian, and although he soon caught up, Magic did not take up his option for the fourth year. Mario Hezonja now plays for the New York Knicks, he joined the team in July 2018.
3. Health Challenges
Mario Hezonja has risen in his game and is improving with every tick of the clock. But it was not without a fight. Mario has fought few health battles in the past that threatened his career. In 2011, the B-baller was infected with the mononucleosis virus (glandular fever). As such, he was prevented from playing in the 2011-2012 season of his junior career.
Then, in the 2012-2013 season of the EuroLeague, he injured himself in one of the games. This limited his performance so that he only appeared in a few games.
4. Awards and Laurels
Although the basketball star has not been active in the sports scene for very long, he has already won several laurels. In 2011 he won the Nike International Junior Tournament. He also won the FIBA European Under-16 Championship in 2011 and the Sportske Novosti Award for Fair Play all in 2011. The following year he was appointed to the FIBA U-17 World Championship Tournament Team.
That’s not all, he also won the Spanish League Championship in 2014.
5. Salary, Net Worth, and Body Stats
The basketball star earns over $3 million in salary, and his net worth is in the millions of dollars, although no number is given.
The young player is one of the players of the Croatian national team. He was one of the team players who participated in the 2014 FIBA World Basketball Championship. Mario also played for his nation in the 2015 Euro Basketball World Championship and the 2016 Summer Olympics, where they finished 5th. He weighs 218 lb and is 6 feet and 8 inches tall.
Bonus Fact – His Family and Love Life
Mario did quite well in his chosen profession and gained a lot of fans and admirers. Given this, it is only normal that people want to know more about his family and his private life in general. Yes! His fans want to know what he looks like without a jersey.
Unfortunately, all efforts to learn more about the NBA star’s private life have almost always met with disappointment. While it is known that his parents Ronald and Petrica Hezonja are among the most important people in his life, other details of his life off the court remain a mystery.
Is he heterosexual or gay? Does he have a girlfriend or a wife? Does he have children? Hardly anyone can say whether he has any siblings at all, nor is it known whether this guy has any lady in his life.