USA Today via Reuters

USA Today via Reuters

Nikola Jokic just won his third MVP, but this win isn’t sitting right with many around the league. First, it was Shaq who stated his displeasure on the award, saying probably Shai deserved it better, and then Stephen A. Smith followed suit. Now, Gilbert Arenas joins the mix. But Arenas isn’t just calling out Jokic’s win, he attempts to highlight the bias of the entire NBA media.

To highlight that the MVP isn’t always based on a player’s production vis-à-vis the team’s performance, Arenas zeros in on the year 2021. That season, Jokic won the MVP while almost averaging a triple-double with 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists. However, Gil mentions something important about that season, “They did not want to give Giannis his third MVP in a row because protecting Bird’s three in a row. So, therefore, you don’t want to give it to Giannis, whose stats match everyone else in history.”

USA Today via Reuters

Despite Jokic taking home the MVP that year, Giannis Antetokounmpo had also had a great season with 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.2 steals, and blocks a night. So, when the Joker won it instead of him, it was chalked up to voter fatigue, but Arenas disagrees. “Voters get voters fatigue. How the fu*k do you get voter fatigue? What does that even mean?” said Arenas.


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He further implicates Jokic’s first MVP in 2021, saying he wasn’t the only player to average a near-triple double. “2021 Jokic got credit for almost winning the triple-double while a mother f*ck*r averaged the triple-double. Think about it. Think about what I’m saying,” explained Arenas. The player he is referring to is Russell Westbrook, who while playing for the Wizards averaged 22.2 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 11.5 assists in the same year. Now, is there a way in which Jokic can vindicate himself?

Can Nikola Jokic justify his three MVP awards?

The question of living up to one’s accolades is surely a murky one. In the history of the league, only a few men have won three or more MVPs including names like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Is the Joker currently up there with those greats? the answer he definitely isn’t yet. However, a few more champions could shift the narrative back towards him again.

Both Magic and Bird have at least three Finals MVPs along with their regular season MVPs. While Bird has three NBA rings, Magic has five from the show-time Lakers era. Despite being the favorites to repeat their victory this year, Jokic and Co have an uphill battle currently they are facing an uphill battle in the Western Conference Semi-finals with a 2-1 lead in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ favor.

If they manage a turnaround and win again, getting back-to-back Larry O’Brien trophies will add credence to the Joker’s third MVP.