INSIDE THE NUGGETS

Nikola Jokic accepts MVP trophy in front of roaring Ball Arena

May 14, 2024, 8:35 PM | Updated: 8:44 pm

DENVER—Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic collected his NBA MVP trophy on Tuesday night for his performance during the 2023-24 season.

Ball Arena hosted a short ceremony prior to tip-off of Game 5 of Round 2 between the Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Adam Silver and Nuggets brass as well as Michael Malone were alongside the Serbian as he accepted the Michael Jordan Trophy.

Jokic didn’t say anything to the crowd but he did hoist the trophy and smile before being mobbed by his teammates. You could barely hear any of it as Ball Arena went wild with MVP chants.

YouTube video

Jokic is one of nine players in NBA history to win three MVPs. The other eight are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James, Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Each of these players has also captured a Finals MVP and a title as well, except for Russell, whose career predates the Bill Russell Finals MVP award.

Jokic won last year’s Finals MVP and has won the regular season MVP in three of the last four seasons, only missing out on the 2022-23 year when the Nuggets won a title. A media member from a league partner, ESPN, used racial bias to influence the award voting thus making the Nuggets and their star want no part of the race. To this day, Jokic has wanted nothing to do with the MVP discourse likely thanks a bit to how the 2023 award played out. If Joel Embiid hadn’t won, it would have been four straight MVPs. Bird is the last player to win three consecutively while four-in-a-row has never been accomplished. There are only five players who have even won the MVP four times.

Jokic was quite gracious the night he found out about his third MVP. He shared a beautiful moment with his family, talked Denver sports history and about his career length.

Like his first MVP win, Jokic collected the third trophy ahead of a home playoff game. His second award, when Denver was already knocked out of the playoffs, was very unique. The strange situation resulted in the big man getting his second MVP as a surprise while at his horse stables in Serbia.

In 2023-24, Jokic was his steady self all of the regular season and improved after the All-Star Break where Denver sped to a 21-6 record, all while Jamal Murray missed a solid chunk of time. Jokic averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and nine assists a game on 58% shooting, good for league bests in Player Efficiency Rating (31,) Win Shares (17,) Box Plus-Minus (13.2) and Value Over Replacement Player (10.6.)

Jokic finished ahead of Shai Gilgeous Alexander and Luka Doncic for the honor. If Denver can knock out the Wolves, Jokic is guaranteed a meeting with either SGA’s Thunder or Luka’s Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals.

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