If you’ve been calling out for someone other than LeBron James to win the MVP award, your prayers have been answered. Nikola Jokic has bagged the accolade for the 2021 campaign and has made history in the process. However, it’s not his stats that mean his name will forever be in the history books.
Although Sky Sports news reports he averaged an impressive 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists per contest in 72 regular season games this year, there’s a lot more to the 26-year-old power forward. What makes him different from the rest of the league’s contenders? Take a look below.
Jokic Is the First Denver Nuggets Player to Be Named MVP
Probably the most shocking fact about Jokic’s Most Valued Player win is that he is the first Denver Nuggets player to collect the honor. Anyone who has watched them historically knows that the franchise has had its fair share of legends, from Allen Iverson to Carmelo Anthony and Alex English.
Still, even then, the likes of the above didn’t manage to claim the prize while they were based in Colorado. Whatever you think of that, it highlights the dominance of Jokic considering he is the one and only player to have managed the feat as a Denver Nuggets man.
He’s the First Serbian to Win the Award
Okay, so there aren’t many Serbians in the NBA, but that makes the achievement all the more impressive in many respects. With a smaller pool of Serbian basketballers to choose from, the idea of a young man from the Balkans usurping the North Americans is almost unheard of in US sports.
Nikola Jokic is the exception to the rule, as he secured 91 first-place votes and earned 971 total points from the global panel that had the final say. That makes him only the third European NBA MVP along with Dirk Nowitzki of Germany and Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece. Jokic is now a member of that exclusive group and could encourage more Serbians and Europeans to follow in his footsteps.
Jokic Is the Lowest Draft Pick to Be Called MVP
If you watch the NBA today and like to place bets, Jokic would be one of the first players you target as someone who can boost your stake. This guide about live basketball odds pretty much says the same thing by encouraging you to analyze past form and exploring the latest strategies, of which Jokic features often.
However, this wasn’t always the case, since the Serbian power forward was only the 41st draft pick when he was drafted in 2014. He wasn’t even picked in the first round, which is almost unheard of for an MVP. In 2021, he has completed his journey by becoming the lowest draft pick ever to bag the title. In all reality, it’s a record-breaking achievement he’ll probably keep for a long time.
He’s Unusually Consistent
Jokic is by no means the first player to play all 72 regular season games – Kobe Bryant did it during the 2007-08 season. Still, no one has done it since until The Joker managed to step out on the court every game in the 2021 campaign, according to The Athletic.
The physical nature of the sport makes it a challenge to be there week-in, week-out, with even the greatest athletes finding it tough to avoid injuries. The Serbian has done something special by keeping himself healthy enough to play. Indeed, it’s been around 13 years since it was last done!
When you look at the record-breaking achievements of Nikola Jokic in 2021, it’s hard to argue against awarding him the 2021 NBA MVP award.