For the first time since 2000, a center has won the NBA’s MVP award.
Multiple media outlets reported Tuesday evening that Nikola Jokic has officially been named the league’s Most Valuable Player. Over the last couple of weeks of the regular season, the decision felt inevitable, but that doesn’t make the announcement any less historic.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 8, 2021
Nikola Jokic has won the NBA MVP, a league source confirmed to @denverpost, making him the lowest draft pick ever to win the award & the first Nuggets player in history. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Steve Nash were both taken 15th. Jokic went 41st in 2014.https://t.co/WiUgNfs9PQ
— Mike Singer (@msinger) June 8, 2021
YOUR 2020-21 NBA MVP: NIKOLA JOKIC 🏆
The news was first reported by The Athletic and confirmed to ESPN. pic.twitter.com/fi5NnuJ3bH
— ESPN (@espn) June 8, 2021
Jokic is the first player in Denver Nuggets history to take home the honor, as well as the lowest draft pick ever to go on and win the award. The big man was selected with the 41st pick out of Serbia in the 2014 draft. Current Chicago Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas played a pivotal role in finding and selecting him in the second round (your turn Marko Simonovic!).
On the season, Jokic was only one of 11 players to appear in all 72 games, and he was one of only five players to start all. He finished the regular season with a career-high 26.4 points, 8.3 assists, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.3 steals. Jokic also shot a wildly efficient 56.6 percent from the field and 38.8 percent from downtown. There is no question the guy is one of the most unique big men the NBA has ever seen. And, at only 26-years-old, this might not be the last time we see him rise to the league’s highest rank.