Nuggets huge man Jokic rises from forty first choose to 2-time NBA MVP | Sports

DENVER (AP) — To suppose, Nikola Jokic’s entry into the NBA was as soon as overshadowed by the introduction of the “quesarito.”

“Hopefully, I’m going to have some percentage from Taco Bell,” joked the Denver Nuggets’ newly minted two-time MVP, whose identify scrolled throughout the TV display screen through the 2014 draft whereas the fast-food chain aired a industrial for its new product.

Much just like the “quesarito” — a burrito wrapped in a quesadilla — the 7-footer is completely different. He has the imaginative and prescient of a degree guard and a wide selection of low-post strikes. He has loads of vary, too.

The participant nicknamed “Joker” is considered one of a form. That’s true proper all the way down to the place he accepted his second straight MVP title — at his horse steady in Sombor, Serbia. He even rode to the barn on a two-wheeled cart pulled by his horse.

He was as soon as the forty first choose, and brought whereas the Taco Bell industrial performed. Not that he even knew that day.

“I was sleeping,” Jokic stated Thursday in a Zoom name from Serbia.

Now, he is inspiring a brand new era of worldwide gamers to dream huge.

“I think I put an example that you can do whatever you want to do, if you work hard or if you try hard,” Jokic stated. “I think it’s really, really a nice journey. Hopefully, it’s not going to stop.”

The 27-year-old Jokic averaged 27.1 factors, 13.8 rebounds and seven.9 assists on a workforce that was lacking two max gamers in Jamal Murray (ACL) and Michael Porter Jr. (again). The versatile middle elevated his sport to turn out to be the primary NBA participant to eclipse 2,000 factors, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a season.

As the thirteenth participant to win back-to-back NBA MVP titles, his identify can be without end linked with the greats corresponding to Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Moses Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Jokic now has an opportunity at a three-peat, which might put him the identical firm with Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.

“I can’t compare myself to those guys,” Jokic stated. “They did a lot and if you say those names anywhere in the world, they will know them. They did everything for the sport today. They were amazing. They won a lot of championships.

“But just to have my name be there, I think it’s really cool. Just one day someone’s going to say my name with those group of guys.”

In typical Jokic fashion, his celebration was far from elaborate: “Some music and some beer,” he said. “Pretty simple.”

Plenty of friends, family and members of the Nuggets joined him in Serbia, including coach Michael Malone and president of basketball operations Tim Connelly. Some — including him — wore shirts with a quote across the front: “Some people want to see you fail. Disappoint them.”

Jokic takes great pride in that sort of mantra, rising from a player whose game was once maligned — flopper, slow feet, poor defender — to what he is today.

Through all his fame, he remains a player of simple delights. Chief among them, his family.

His horses, too.

“That’s my stress relief,” Jokic said of his time with his horses. “It keeps me calm and keeps me really, really relaxed. I really love to do that in my free time. I think that’s what I’m going to do when I finish my career.”

He will pair his new MVP trophy with his first one, which he found after it had been misplaced during a recent move.

But he’s got his eye on an even bigger prize: An NBA title.

“All those individual awards are something that come and go. People are picking who’s going to win it,” Jokic said. “Championships are you profitable it.”


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