Nikola Jokić Wins Third Career NBA MVP Award

May 8, 2024, 6:14 PM

Nikola Jokic - Denver Nuggets...

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets leaves the court after their double overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers during Game Five of their Western Conference first-round playoff series at Ball Arena on June 1, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

DENVER, Colorado – Nikola Jokić did it all again. And the MVP trophy is his again.

Jokić, the Denver Nuggets star from Serbia, was announced Wednesday night as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player — his third time winning the award in the past four seasons, a feat that just six other players in league history have accomplished.

RELATED: 2024 Utah Jazz Draft Prospects

He averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists. Others averaged more in each category — and Jokic has had better years in each of those categories — but he was the only player to rank in the NBA’s top 10 in points, rebounds and assists per game this season.

Jokić got 79 of a possible 99 first-place votes from the panel of reporters and broadcasters who cast ballots on awards when the regular season ended.

“It’s got to start with your teammates,” Jokić said on TNT, where the award was announced. “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.”

RELATED: Jazz Lose Draft Tiebreaker To Nuggets, Will Pick 29th

It likely was not a coincidence that Jokić appeared on television for the award announcement wearing a T-shirt commemorating the life of one of his mentors, Golden State assistant coach Dejan Milojević, who died earlier this year after a heart attack on a road trip.

Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was second and Dallas’ Luka Doncic was third, both getting into the top three of MVP voting for the first time. With Jokic from Serbia, Gilgeous-Alexander from Canada and Doncic from Slovenia, it marked the third consecutive season that three players born outside the U.S. finished 1-2-3 in the MVP balloting.

This time, the foreign dominance atop the NBA was even more pronounced: Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is from Greece, was fourth — so this became the first time in the award’s 69-year history that international players went 1-2-3-4 in the voting. It also became the sixth consecutive year that a player born outside the U.S. won the award.

New York’s Jalen Brunson was fifth.

“Some people say it’s the best player on the best team,” Jokic said, when asked to define an MVP. “To me, it’s the guy who’s the most valuable, the team couldn’t play without him.”

RELATED: Who Would Jazz Select With Eighth Pick In Mock Draft?

Jokic is now the ninth player to win the MVP award at least three times. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won it six times, Bill Russell and Michael Jordan each won five, Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James won four, and Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are the other three-time winners.

Jokic’s surprise rise to superstardom has been chronicled time and again over the years: He was the 41st overall pick in the 2014 draft, didn’t even think he had a realistic chance at playing in the NBA when his career was beginning and now has a Hall of Fame resume at 29.

The other players with three MVP trophies in a four-year span are James, Johnson, Bird, Abdul-Jabbar, Chamberlain and Russell. And Jokic becomes the fifth player to be first or second in the MVP voting in four consecutive years — joining Bird, Abdul-Jabbar, Russell and Tim Duncan.
Gilgeous-Alexander had perhaps the best feel-good story in the NBA this season, helping Oklahoma City to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference by averaging 30.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.2 assists. The Thunder won 57 games, 17 more than they did last season and 33 more than they did two years ago, their rise coinciding with Gilgeous-Alexander’s emergence as one of the game’s elite players.

“There is not a night when I don’t feel like we have the best player on the floor. … There’s no one I’d rather have on our team than him,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault, the league’s coach of the year this season, said last month.

Doncic made a case for the MVP award by posting the first season in NBA history in which a player averaged 34 points, nine rebounds and nine assists per game. There had been 14 instances before this year in which a player averaged that many points and rebounds in a season — of those, five had resulted in MVP wins, including last season when Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid averaged 33 points and 10 rebounds.

And this was the second time ever that a player averaged at least 33 points and nine assists per game. The other was in 1972-73, when Kansas City’s Tiny Archibald averaged 34 points and 11 assists. He finished third in that season’s MVP voting, just like Doncic did this season.
But in the end, it was Jokic who stood above all others — and the vote wasn’t close.

“I think he’s stated his case pretty well,” Nuggets guard Jamal Murray said. “He does it every night. It’s hard to do what he does and face the kind of pressure that he does each and every game. He does it with a smile on his face. He makes everybody around us better. And 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.”


neemias queta champion...

Brian Preece

Former USU Big Man Neemias Queta Wins NBA Championship With Boston Celtics

Former Utah State center Neemias Queta's circuitous journey through the NBA culminated in an NBA championship

15 hours ago

celtics 2024...


Boston Celtics Win 18th NBA Championship With Game 5 Victory Over Dallas Mavericks

Jayson Tatum put his hands behind his head, with TD Garden fans standing on their feet cheering around him, and took it all in.

16 hours ago

Charles Barkley retires TV TNT...

Associated Press

Charles Barkley Says Next Season Will Be His Last Year On TV

Charles Barkley said Friday that next season will be his last on TV, no matter what happens with the NBA's media deals.

4 days ago


Dave Skretta, AP

Ex-Illinois Star Terrence Shannon Jr., Potential First-Round NBA Draft Pick, Not Guilty Of Rape

Former Illinois standout Terrence Shannon Jr., a potential first-round NBA draft pick, was found not guilty Thursday on a rape charge.

5 days ago

Jerry West NBA Summer League...

TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer

Jerry West, Hall Of Fame Selection And NBA Logo Inspiration, Dies At 86

Jerry West, who was selected to the Hall of Fame three times, and whose silhouette is the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

7 days ago


Kyle Ireland

Jazz Forward Brice Sensabaugh Stops By Utah Royals Match

Jazz forward Brice Sensabaugh showed up to support the Utah Royals in their match against the Washington Spirit.

10 days ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey newsletter!

Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption...

Hans & Scotty’s Day Of Adoption

Join the KSL Sports Zone for Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption, in partnership with the Humane Society of Utah, on June 25th, 2024!


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Nikola Jokić Wins Third Career NBA MVP Award