Denver Nuggets center, Nikola Jokic, won the NBA MVP award for the 2021 campaign. Jokic became the first player in the Nuggets’ history to record such an achievement and the lowest drafted player.
The 26-year old left Joel Embiid and Steph Curry behind him, winning his first award pretty confidently, receiving 91 of 101 first-place votes. Jokic had 971 points, Embiid 586, and Curry 453.
“To be honest, I didn’t even think about being in the NBA,” Jokic said after hearing the news.
The NBA Commissioner Adam Silver appeared via link during the Nuggets’ team meeting to reveal the news and be the first one who congratulated Jokic on his big milestone.
The Joker, however, put his teammates ahead of the MVP award, suggesting that he won it because of them.
“It’s a big accomplishment,” Jokic said. “But it’s something that, like I said to the guys, it’s not just me. I couldn’t do it by myself. It’s something that it is an individual award, but it’s the effort of everybody who is part of the Denver Nuggets organization.”
The franchise from Colorado ended third in the West, behind the Jazz and the Suns, but having enormous issues with injuries. Their other superstar, Jamal Murray, finished the season, which left Jokic without his partner on the court. On top of that, the Nuggets experienced numerous minor injuries, which were frequent, disrupting game plans and forcing the team to have constant adjustments. All that was covered up with Jokic’s superb performances.
Nikola Jokic (Serbia) is the 6th player born outside the 50 states to win #KiaMVP, joining Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Steve Nash (South Africa), Tim Duncan (Virgin Islands) and Dirk Nowitzki (West Germany). pic.twitter.com/WmckmdjRcO
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) June 9, 2021
The big fella scored 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists, shooting 56.6% and 38.8% for three. But his contribution was so much greater because Jokic did something just a few players in the NBA history have – to revolutionize the game.
His ridiculous passes and unique creativity made him arguably the best big passer ever. But that is not all. Jokic has the ability to organize the game as a playmaker despite playing center. Thus, many see his role in Denver as the point center.
He is also the lowest-drafter player to win the MVP award. The previous ones were Steve Nash and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who were both drafted as 15th picks. Jokic was 41st. That is something that will be a massive boost for all the players who weren’t first-round choices and a true example that everything is possible in the NBA.
“He’s totally selfless, one of the more understated superstars in recent memory,” Mike Malone, Nuggets’ head coach, said.
And really, if there is a superstar in the NBA that isn’t getting enough credit and respect, especially from the media, that is Nikola Jokic. Throughout the entire season, the media were giving more hype to his MVP rivals, often jumping from one to another, trying to pump up their chances of reaching the award.
During that period, Jokic’s unreal performances were mildly covered, without any bombastic articles or analyses. Even when he got the award, reporting about the same was not as in the recent few years, and everyone noticed that.
Maybe that is because Jokic focuses only on the games isn’t that thrilled to put himself in the center of attention. Maybe it is something else. But what is certain and what stands in the middle of everything, is that this guy won this award fair and square.
The sooner everyone accepts it, the better for the game.
Joker, we salute you.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.