Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic wins back to back NBA MVP titles
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award for the second straight year, the league announced on Wednesday.
The Serbian big man received 65 first-place votes from a panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters, comfortably beating out Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, who finished second, and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was third.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounded out the top five.
It marked the first time that both the top three and four of the top five finishers in voting were international players.
Embiid hails from Cameroon, Antetokounmpo from Greece, and Doncic from Slovenia.
— NBA (@NBA) May 11, 2022
The 27-year-old Jokic became the 13th player to win the award in consecutive seasons. Antetokounmpo won back-to-back MVPs in 2019 and 2020.
A prolific scorer and outstanding passer, Jokic became the first player in NBA history to record at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in a season and the first player to average at least 25 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 assists in a season.
“I don’t know what else you can say about Nikola at this point,” head coach Michael Malone said in a statement.
“He’s consistently improved his game, he’s consistently proven people wrong when they doubt him and he’s consistently the best player on the floor night in and night out.
“I’ve said it many times before, I’m extremely grateful to coach Nikola Jokic and just as grateful for the bond that we’ve built off the court in our seven years together.”
Jokic, nicknamed “the Joker,” is also known for his sense of humor and a video online showed him being pulled by a horse while seated in a buggy to a barn in Serbia where he was warmly greeted by fans and handed the solid crystal basketball trophy.
The 41st overall pick of the 2014 draft, Jokic led the Nuggets to the playoffs for a fourth straight time this season. The shorthanded squad fell to the Golden State Warriors in five games in the first round.
The Nuggets are expected to offer Jokic a five-year, $254 million supermax contract extension this summer, according to The Athletic, which would be the largest contract in NBA history.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Stephen Coates and Lincoln Feast.)