US basketball

Dominant force: Nuggets star Nikola Jokic bags NBA MVP for 3rd time in 4 seasons


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Dominant force: Nuggets star Nikola Jokic bags NBA MVP for 3rd time in 4 seasons

TOP GUN. Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic controls the ball in NBA playoff action.

Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Far from offended, Nikola Jokic says ‘there are a lot of players who deserve it’ when it was suggested in an interview that young Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander may have been a more worthy winner

Denver Nuggets star center Nikola Jokic was named NBA Most Valuable Player on Wednesday, May 8, marking the third time in four seasons that he won the award.

Jokic is the ninth player to win the award three or more times.

Jokic received 79 first-place votes and totaled 926 points in balloting performed by a group of sportswriters and broadcasters. 

Oklahoma City guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (15 first-place votes, 640 points) was second and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (4, 566) was third.

Jokic averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 9.0 assists in 79 games this season. He had 25 triple-doubles, second in the league behind Domantas Sabonis (26) of the Sacramento Kings.

“It’s got to start with your teammates, you know,” Jokic said on TNT. “Without them, I cannot do nothing. Coaches, players, organization, medical staff, strength coaches, development coaches. It’s all one big circle, but I cannot be whatever I am without them.”

Last season, Jokic was the runner-up behind Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers. Jokic won the award in the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the record of six MVP awards. Michael Jordan and Bill Russell won it five times, while Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James each won four.

Jokic is tied with Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone as three-time winners.

Though Jokic won the award comfortably, he wasn’t offended during the TNT interview when it was suggested that Gilgeous-Alexander might have been a more worthy winner.

“There are a lot of players who deserve it,” Jokic said. “It’s probably the details and the small things.”

Jokic led the Nuggets to the NBA title last season and helped Denver compile a 57-25 record in the 2023-2024 regular season.

The Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the Western Conference first round but now are facing a tough situation after losing the first two games against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round. The series now shifts to Minneapolis for the next two games.

“Tomorrow, we leave and go to Minnesota and try to get the series back to Denver,” Jokic said.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (one, 192) finished fourth in this season’s balloting and New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (142) was fifth. –

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