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Jokic beats out Shai, Luka to win MVP for historic 3rd time

Dustin Bradford / Getty Images

Nikola Jokic is now in truly rarefied air.

The Denver Nuggets All-Star was named MVP on Wednesday to become the ninth player in NBA history to win the league's most prestigious award on three or more occasions.

The MVP trophy is Jokic's third in four seasons, with the 29-year-old capturing the honor this year over first-time nominees Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.

Player 1st-place votes Total
Jokic 79 926
Gilgeous-Alexander 15 640
Doncic 4 566
Antetokounmpo 1 192

Jokic joins some of the NBA's most celebrated players who won MVP three times.

Awards Player Team(s)
6 Kareem-Abdul Jabbar Bucks (3) Lakers (3)
5 Bill Russell Celtics
5 Michael Jordan Bulls
4 Wilt Chamberlain 76ers (3) Warriors (1)
4 LeBron James Cavaliers (2) Heat (2)
3 Moses Malone Rockets (2) 76ers (1)
3 Larry Bird Celtics
3 Magic Johnson Lakers
3 Nikola Jokic Nuggets

Jokic made 79 appearances for the defending champion Nuggets this season, averaging 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, nine assists, and 1.4 steals in 34.6 minutes a game. He led the NBA in several categories, including win shares (17) and Value Over Replacement Player (10.6).

The Serbian's win continues a run of six straight MVPs born outside of the United States. Cameroonian-born Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid beat out Jokic for last year's award, and Greece's Giannis Antetokounmpo won the honor for his 2018-19 and 2019-2020 seasons. Knicks guard Jalen Brunson received the most votes of all American players, garnering three second-place selections as part of a total of 142 points, good for fifth overall.

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