Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is this year’s recipient of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award. Jokic became just the sixth international player to get this honor and the first center to do it since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000.
Jokic blew out the competition, receiving 91 first-place votes out of 101 possible and a total of 971 points. Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid finished second in the voting, totaling 586 points but just one first-place vote. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors rounds up the top three with five first-place votes and 453 points.
“It’s a big accomplishment,” said Jokic about the award. “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.”
Nikola Jokic was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 2014 with the 41st overall pick. After adjusting to the league in his rookie season, Jokic quickly emerged as the franchise cornerstone for the Nuggets. He has been an All-Star each year since 2019 while managing to make two All-NBA teams.
In 2020-21, Jokic had his best statistical outing while leading Denver to the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. During the regular season, the 26-year-old Serbian averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.4 assists per game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) and Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns) were the remaining players to receive first-place votes by the media. The New York Knicks’ Derrick Rose also received one, thanks to the fan vote.
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, who was the favorite for the MVP award before injuries limited his appearances in the regular season, made it to just one ballot. This meant that James has received an MVP vote for 18 consecutive seasons, or every year since entering the NBA.