When the Denver Nuggets picked Nikola Jokic at No. 41 in 2014, ESPN aired a Taco Bell commercial instead of covering the Serbian’s selection.
Eight years later, things have changed. Jokic will reportedly win MVP for a second straight season and is poised to sign a five-year, $254 million extension with the Nuggets — which would be the largest contract in NBA history.
Joker’s individual accolades haven’t yet translated into the postseason, but he’s revolutionized the game for big men.
- He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Moses Malone as the only centers with multiple MVPs.
- Jokic became the first player in NBA history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in a season.
- He’s just the 15th player to win MVP in consecutive seasons.
- He’s the sixth international player to win the award — he and Giannis Antetokounmpo have won the last four.
The 27-year-old carried the Nuggets into the playoffs as the 6-seed, despite playing without co-stars — and big investments — Jamal Murray (5 YRs, $158.3M) and Michael Porter Jr. (5 YRs, $207M).
Denver’s injuries notwithstanding, critics still knock Jokic for only once advancing past the second round — but as the lowest-drafted MVP ever, he’s still arguably the best draft pick in NBA history.
He’ll need his supporting cast for a deeper playoff run next year, but Jokic has a chance to make even more history by joining Bill Russell (1961-63) and Larry Bird (1984-86) as the only players to win three consecutive MVPs.