Nikola Vučević is a Montenegrin professional basketball player for the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association. He played college basketball for the University of Southern California before being drafted 16th overall in the 2011 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. Vučević, who spent his rookie season with the 76ers, was traded to Orlando Magic in 2012. He played nine seasons for the Magic and was named a two-time NBA All-star during his tenure with the team.
Vučević was born in Morges, Switzerland during the time his professional basketball player father, Borislav, played for a club based in nearby Laussane. The youngster was primarily raised in Belgium where the family moved in 1994 when his father got a professional contract there. Borislav Vučević played professionally for 24 years, a journeyman career that included stops in Yugoslavia, Switzerland, and Belgium, and was a member of the KK Bosna team that won the European Champions Cup in 1979 in addition to several appearances for the Yugoslavia national team, primarily at the 1983 Medditerenian games in Morocco and Euro Basket 1985 in West Germany. Vučević’s mother, Ljiljana Kubura, an ethnic Serb was a 6-foot-2 forward for a Sarajevo club , as well as for the Yugoslavia Women national team.
His family moved to Montenegro when he was a teenager. In 2006, Vučević was a survivor in the Bioce derailment, a train crash that killed at least 45 people and wounded 184 others.
In 2007, seventeen-year-old Vučević was named Montenegro’s Best Young Player.
Vučević moved to Simi Valley, California in the United States in October 2007 to play his senior year of high school at Stoneridge Prep. He knew little English, but did speak French, which many of his teammates also spoke. Under coach Babacar Sy, a friend of his father’s, he was team captain and led the team in scoring and rebounding with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Vučević played three seasons with the Trojans of the University of South California.
In his first year, Vučević missed the first eight games of the season while waiting to have his amateur status confirmed by the NCAA Clearinghouse. He averaged 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in 23 games in three starts. Vučević scored six points and had four rebounds in the NCAA second-round loss to Michigan State on 22 March. In all, he made 57.8 percent of his shots from the field (26-for-45).
Vučević began to excel in his sophomore season. He scored 18 points and had eight rebounds in the first game of the season against UC Riverside on 17 November 2009, both totals better than any of his freshman games. Vučević had 18 points and 14 rebounds at Texas on 3 December 2009. He scored a career-high 19 points and had 11 rebounds vs. Loyola Marymount on 21 November 2009, for his first career double-double. He matched his career high with 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting at UCLA on 16 January 2010, scoring 17 points in the second half. By the end of the year, he had led USC in scoring five times and in rebounding 20 times, including the last nine games.
Overall, he was the second-best scorer and leading rebounder on the Trojans, with 10.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Vučević led the Pac-10 with 283 rebounds and offensive rebounds per game (6.3) and his 39 blocks were the fourth most in the conference. Vučević’s .504 shooting percentage (126-for-250) led USC and was seventh best in the Pac-10. Vučević was named the 2009–10 Pac-10 Most Improved Player, and earned all-Pac-10 second team and Pac-10 honourable-mention all-defensive team honours.
As a junior, Vucevic was picked to the Fourth Team All-America by Fox Sport and was named to the All-Pac-10 first team. In March 2011, Vučević announced that he would give up his senior year to enter the NBA Draft. The website NBAdraft.net projected him as the 23rd pick in the draft.
During his stint with the Trojans, Vučević averaged 11.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
On 23 June 2011, Vučević was drafted with the 16th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. During the 2011 NBA lockout, Vučević played for Montenegrin team. Following the conclusion of the lockout, he returned to the United States and signed his rookie scale contract with the 76ers on 9 December 2011. On 22 February 2012, Vučević scored a season-high 18 points in a loss to the Houston Rockets.
In August 2012, Vučević was traded to the Orlando Magic in a four-team trade. On 31 December 2012, in an overtime loss to the Miami Heat, Vučević set a franchise record with 29 rebounds. On 10 April 2013, he recorded his second straight 20/20 game with a career-high 30 points and 20 rebounds in a 113–103 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
In 2014, Vučević signed a four-year, $53 million contract extension with the Magic. On 3 April 2015, he scored a career-high 37 points in a 97–84 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Vučević entered the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. On 6 July 2019, he signed a four-year, $100 million contract to remain with the Magic.
On 25 March 2021, Vučević was traded along with Al-Farouq Aminu to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter and two future first-round picks.
In 2016, Vučević married longtime girlfriend and fellow Montenegrin Nikoleta Pavlović, sister of former NBA player Aleksandar Pavlovic. The couple have two sons, Filip (born 17 December 2018) and Matija (born 1 October 2020).
Vučević is an ethnic Serb and a Serbian Orthodox Christian. He speaks French, Serbian and English. He also holds dual citizenship with Montenegro and Belgium.
Vučević is a fan of Juventus Torino.