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Nuggets star Nikola Jokic wins 2024 NBA MVP award, his third in the last four seasons

The Serbian big man averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9 assists a game this year.
basketball player Nikola Jokic
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in Denver on April 10.David Zalubowski / AP file

Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player on Wednesday.

Jokic, who also took home the honor in 2021 and 2022, is just the ninth player in league history to claim three MVP awards. The only others since 1990: Michael Jordan and LeBron James. 

The Serbian big man averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9 assists a game this season while shooting 58.3% from the field. 

Jokic, 29, got 79 first-place votes, while fellow finalists Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks got 15 and four, respectively. 

Jokic is one of the most unusual players ever to compete in the NBA. At 6-foot-11 and 284 pounds, he has the size, length and strength to back opponents down in the post but also a soft shooting touch to hit from midrange and outside the arc. He also has exceptional ball-handling and passing ability for a center, making him the quintessential modern big man.

He finished the 2023-24 season fifth in total points, third in total rebounds, second in total assists and eighth in total steals. Jokic is the only player in NBA history to rank in the top 10 in all four categories in a single season since the league began keeping statistics on steals in 1973-74. 

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Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, left, is defended by Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson in Denver on April 10.David Zalubowski / AP file

The Nuggets — the defending NBA champions — finished the regular season second in the Western Conference behind the Thunder. Denver is down 0-2 in its postseason series with the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

“There are a lot of players that deserve it,” Jokic said on TNT after the announcement. “It’s probably the details and small things … but we lost two games at home to Minnesota. Tomorrow we leave to [go to] Minnesota to try to get the series back to Denver.”

Shaquille O’Neal said on the broadcast that Gilgeous-Alexander deserved the honor. He averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 assists and 5.5 rebounds while leading Oklahoma City to the best record in the conference. 

“I don’t like to rain on people’s parades, but I’m not happy with this one. ... I felt Shai Gilgeous-Alexander deserved it,” he said. “I know this is going to be hurtful for him. Hopefully he uses this to motivate him to win a championship.”