Nikola was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, and loved basketball above all else. He was instrumental in winning a provincial championship with his high school “The Sandwich Sabres” basketball team. He enjoyed many SNF and OYAA tournaments. Nik received a full ride scholarship to Oakland University in Michigan, but sadly, before he could ever play a game, it was discovered he had a heart condition. Due to this shocking diagnosis, he would be red shirted for the rest of his university career.
Although he suffered with this condition, Nik’s loyalty to his team never wavered. He attended each practice, dressed for every game and cheered them on from the bench. Standing 7 foot 1, Nik’s height was what initially drew people to him, but his warm heart and kindness is what they remember most.
Between the ages of 21 and 30, Nik underwent three major open heart surgeries that were necessary due to his condition, Loeys Dietz Syndrome. Always a champion, he fought through each one with courage, fortitude and faith. After finally putting those surgeries behind him, Nik and his family were devastated to learn that he had Stage 4 cancer in April of 2012. On April 25, 2013, after fighting as hard as anyone could, Nik, who was 31 years old, passed away.