Nikola Jokic Crowned NBA’s MVP, Marking Historic Achievement for Serbian Basketball


The world of professional basketball was abuzz this Wednesday. The echo of the applause could be heard all the way from the United States, across the Atlantic, to Serbia – as their homegrown hero, the Denver Nuggets superstar, Nikola Jokic, was proclaimed the National Basketball Association’s Most Valuable Player for this year. This honor doesn’t just mark his third crown in four seasons, but also places him in the distinguished club of six other basketball giants who have matched this feat in the illustrious pages of NBA history.

Jokic’s remarkable performance, averaging 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 9.0 assists, won him this splendid distinction. Though other players may have averaged more in each category, and indeed, Jokic himself has outperformed these numbers, no other player managed to find a place in the NBA’s top 10 in points, rebounds, and assists per game this season – a testament to his consistent brilliance.

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The towering Serbian received a near unanimous 79 out of 99 first-place votes from the panel of seasoned reporters and broadcasters who are entrusted with the responsibility of casting their ballots on awards when the regular season concludes.

In acceptance of the honor, Jokic humbly credited his success to his hardworking teammates. “Without them, I’m nothing. Without them, I cannot do nothing. Coaches, players, organization, medical staff, development coaches … I cannot be whoever I am without them,” he stated on TNT, where the announcement was made.

In an unfortunate intertwining of triumph and tragedy, Jokic appeared in a T-shirt commemorating Dejan Milojević – one of his late mentors, a Golden State assistant coach, and a compatriot who suffered a fatal heart attack earlier this year.

In an interesting twist, Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from Canada and Dallas’ Luka Doncic from Slovenia wrapped up the second and third places respectively in the MVP voting. This marked the third consecutive season where the top three players hailed from outside the U.S. To further underline the international dominance in NBA this year, Giannis Antetokounmpo from Greece held the fourth rank. The cosmopolitan representation among the top ranks dislodged the previous statistics, making it the first time in the award’s 69-year history that international players went 1-2-3-4.

Now, under the bright spotlight of acclaim, Jokic stands tall – only ninth in the history of NBA to have won the MVP award at least three times, sharing the elite pedestal with many luminaries of the sport such as LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Magic Johnson.

His transformation into a superstar has captivated every basketball enthusiast. A modest 41st pick in the 2014 draft, Jokic puts forth an irresistible underdog story – once an aspiring player in Serbia, unsure of his prospects in the NBA, he rose to carve out a spectacular, Hall of Fame-worthy career by the age of 29.

In spite of stiff competition from other players, ultimately, Jokic’s brilliance outshone all others. As Nuggets guard Jamal Murray attested, “He’s a leader on the court and somebody that we expect greatness from every time he steps on the court and he’s delivered.”

As for Jokic, he simply defines MVP as, “the guy who’s the most valuable, the team couldn’t play without him.” And it seems the world of basketball, from Denver to Serbia, unequivocally agrees.