Nikola Jokic Wins First NBA MVP Award


The 26 year old Denver Nuggets center was named the Kia NBA MVP on Tuesday

This Tuesday, Jokic won his very first NBA MVP award and became the sixth international player to ever win this title. The big man’s accomplishment was revealed, making him the lowest draft pick ever to win the award. ”The Joker” now has his name etched alongside the greatest players in league history, which surely seemed unlikely when he was that terribly unpromising and unheralded prospect out of Sombor, Serbia in 2014. Nikola Jokic was selected as the 41st draft pick when he entered the NBA seven years ago.

”To be honest, I didn’t even think I would be in the NBA,” Jokic admitted to writers. ”My goal when I started to play basketball back home, it was playing in Euroleague because that was kind of the closest top league to my country.” He did just a bit more.

Jokic was what is referred to as the runaway winner, receiving 91 of the 101 first-place ballots cast – 100 of them from a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the league, the final one being an accumulation first-place ballot compiled and collected from fan voting.

That fan vote became the outlier and it went to 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose of the New York Knicks, this being the only vote Rose got.

Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid was second, Golden State’s Stephen Curry was third, 2019 and 2020 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee was fourth, making Phoenix guard Chris Paul fifth.

”It’s a big accomplishment, but it’s something that like I said to the guys, it’s not just me,” Jokic said. ”I came here six years ago and I was growing, the organization was growing, the coaching staff was growing, the players next to me were growing.”

”I couldn’t do it by myself. It’s an individual award, but it’s the effort of everybody.”

The previous record-holders for lowest draft picks that eventually became MVPs was Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash and Milwaukee center Giannis Antetokounmpo, who were both chosen 15th overall. Antetokounmpo outstandingly won the MVP award each of the last two NBA seasons.

“The difference between this year was I started this season really well,” Jokic said. “I played kind of the whole season really well stat wise. I think this was the best season of my life and the cherry on the top is the trophy that I got. This is the best season of my life.”