How do you say “back-to-back” in Serbian? “Drugi put zaredom!” Nikola Jokic, the embodiment of the dominance of foreign basketball players in the NBA and the era of ultra-versatile giants, became the 13th player in history to be named regular season MVP for the second season in a row.
Aged 27, the Denver Nuggets pivot is now part of the same club as Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo. All legends who, with the exception of Nash and himself, were also champions.
“Just being around Bill (Russell) and all the guys that have made history in this league and in this sport… I mean, just that, that says a lot. It means a lot, ”he reacted on NBA on TNT. The “Joker” has averaged 27.1 points at 58.3% success, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists this season, improving his statistics in almost every sector compared to the previous year.
Embiid and Antetokounmpo on the floor
Beyond the numbers, he is rewarded for his considerable impact on the performance of the Nuggets, yet weakened by the absences of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr, long-time injured. He led them to 6th place in the West, without being able, of course, then to prevent an elimination in the first round of the play-offs against Golden State.
Acclaimed by 65 journalists out of 100 in first place, he, like last year, outstripped the Cameroonian pivot of Philadelphia Joel Embiid. Third place went to the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo, winner in 2019 and 2020. The Slovenian prodigy Luka Doncic, destined to know such a consecration one day, occupies 5th place at only 23 years old.
“To be honest, I didn’t even think about being in the NBA when I started playing basketball at home,” he said last year when he received his first trophy. Drafted in 41st position in 2014 by Denver, Jokic has become a superstar as discreet as it is essential for the Nuggets. He is currently negotiating a contract extension with the Colorado franchise and could sign, according to US media, for more than $240 million over five years. Which would be an NBA record.