Serbian national team player Nikola Jokić was chosen as the most useful player (MVP) of the strongest league in the world and became only the third European with that recognition.
With the first Kia NBA MVP Award of his career, Jokić became the first member to receive that honor as a member of the Denver Nuggets. He is also the first player from Serbia to be selected as the NBA MVP and thus joined players Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) as MVP winners from Europe.
Nikola earned his third consecutive All-Star nomination this year and was also named Western Conference Player of the Month twice and Western Conference Player of the Week three times.
This season, the performance of Jokić, who is playing the semifinals of the Western Conference with Denver, is 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game. Also, as the 41st pick from the draft, he is the lowest selected pick who managed to achieve prestigious recognition.
Jokić made an NBA- leading 732 field goals and also shot 56.6 percent from the field, 38.8 percent from three-point range, and a career-high 86.8 percent from the free-throw line.
Jokić’s MVP marks the return of the big man
He managed only the third man in the history of the league who was ranked in the Top 5 players in the league in all three categories, he was the third scorer, the fifth-best jumper, and the third assistant. Before him, only Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor did it.
“The only thing better than Nikola Jokić the basketball player is Nikola Jokić the person,” Vice Chairman Josh Kroenke stated. “His skill and IQ combine for beautiful basketball, and there isn’t a more deserving person for such a prestigious award.”
The moment when Nikola was declared the MVP, thunderous applause broke out in the hall. He sent it all off with a smile on his face and then received congratulations from teammates who were sitting near him.