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Kobe Bryant’s role in Nikola Jokic’s MVP win with Nuggets

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets, Kobe Bryant, Lakers

In 2019, Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant challenged Nikola Jokic to win MVP. Two years later, the Denver Nuggets center can now say mission accomplished.

On Tuesday, Jokic officially won the 2020-21 MVP honor, beating the two other finalists in Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid and Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Stephen Curry. The Nuggets superstar took the award via landslide victory after he got 91 first place votes en route to 971 points–385 points ahead of Embiid who finished second.

After the incredible feat, Kobe’s challenge to Jokic back in 2019 resurfaced. In the said video, the Lakers icon dared D’Angelo Russell to be an All-Star, Paul George to be Defensive Player of the Year, and Jokic to be MVP. Russell became an All-Star in the same year, while Jokic has now fulfilled his part.

 

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Nikola Jokic undoubtedly deserved the recognition. He has the stats to show for it–averaging a near triple-double of 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists after playing in all 72 games of the season–and the record too back it up. After all, the Nuggets finished with the third-best record in the West with a 47-25 win-loss tally.

Kobe Bryant would have been proud to see Jokic claim the honor. The late Lakers star would have also probably dared the Joker to win the Larry O’Brien trophy next after fulfilling his first challenge.

Now, Jokic will need his best Kobe impersonation and channel that Mamba Mentality as he tries to lead Denver to the promised land. The Nuggets are up against the Phoenix Suns (who trounced the Lakers) in the second-round of the playoffs, and it’s brewing to be an exciting series.