Nikola Jokic has been named NBA MVP for the second consecutive season

The 27-year-old Serbian – who was the 41st pick in the 2014 draft – has been named All-Star for the fourth straight season after another dominant year from the center position. He beat Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks striker Giannis Antetokounmpo to the prize.

Jokic is the 15th player to win MVP multiple times and the second in a row to win consecutive awards after Antetokounmpo in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Jokic accepted the award while on his stable horse in Serbia.

When asked by TNT’s Ernie Johnson after winning the award if he’d ever considered himself a long shot, Jokic agreed, adding, “There’s no way I’m going to come to the NBA and play basketball from this town. from this stable, in practice, and now I am playing basketball in the best league in the world and I play at a high level “.

As a boy, Jokic said he “wasn’t thinking of playing basketball, or of lying”.

“I was here in the stable,” he said. “I was cleaning the boxes. I was cleaning the horses. At that age I didn’t think about basketball at all.”

Jokic has improved his overall game from last year’s MVP-winning season, averaging 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists in 74 regular-season games this year. Last year he averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game.

During the regular season, Jokic became the first player in NBA history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a single season.

He also racked up 19 league-leading triple-doubles in the regular season, meaning he has 76 in his career, which is only behind Wilt Chamberlain (78) among the centers.

“Seeing Nikola transform into one of the few back-to-back MVPs this league has ever seen was truly incredible,” said Tim Connelly, president of basketball operations at Denver Nuggets. “It is indicative of who Nikola is as a person and as a basketball player: he works hard, extremely motivated and dedicated to improving himself and all his teammates in every possible way.”

Jokic is defended by the Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green.

The Nuggets fought the Warriors in the playoffs

Jokic’s Nuggets have been extremely understaffed this season. Point guard Jamal Murray missed the entire year due to a torn ACL while Michael Porter Jr. only played nine games due to a back injury.

Yet despite all the hardships he faced, Jokic was able to drag Denver to the playoffs, finishing as sixth-seeded in the Western Conference.

This earned the Nuggets a clash with the Golden State Warriors where they would ultimately lose in five games in their best-of-seven series.

In the series, Jokic averaged 31.0 points, 13.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.6 steals and one block per game with 57.5% of shots from the field, keeping almost alone the nuggets in most games.

The five games included some fierce battles with Warriors striker Draymond Green, widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in the NBA.

After the Warriors had taken the series win in Game 5, Jokic and Green hugged in the middle of the pitch and exchanged a few words that Green explained in his post-match press conference.

“I said thank you to him for making me better. It’s an honor and a pleasure to play someone so skilled. Usually when you have guys that talented and skilled, they’re soft. And he’s anything but soft. He’s absolutely amazing player,” he said. Green.