‘MVP Got 10 Out of 12′: Shaquille O’Neal Compares Nikola Jokic with Charles Barkley After Nuggets’ Rout of Blazers

Published 05/25/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
Apr 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans center Willy Hernangomez (9) in the first quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports


Nikola Jokic was playing at his peak level in a much-needed win over Portland Trail Blazers. The bona fide MVP of the NBA this season also attracted praise from the watching ‘Inside the NBA’ panel.

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Shaquille O’Neal, in particular, was full of praise for the Joker and even compared him to his fellow panelist, Charles Barkley.

In a 128-109 win over the Blazers, the Nuggets center accumulated 38 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. But it was his vital contribution late in the game that garnered the attention of Shaq.

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Jokic made all the offensive plays in the 4th quarter; he was responsible for 10 of their final 12 points. He attacked the low post and got his teammates involved as well.

It was reminiscent of Charles, who used to dominate the same way when he was with the Suns. “The MVP got 10 out of 12. He did(played) like Chuck used to.

“Follow me, (Dan) Majerle, follow me, Kevin Johnson. Give me the ball and let me go to work and when I kick it out to you guys, be ready. They were definitely ready tonight,” Shaq told the crew.

Shaquille O’Neal previously overlooked Nikola Jokic for MVP

Notably, Shaq anointed Jokic as the MVP. It is not surprising that he’s given his props to Jokic, but what caught attention is that he was campaigning for the other MVP candidate, Joel Embiid, barely a month ago.

“I would give it to Joel Embiid, right now,” Shaq had made his opinion very clear back in April.

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 06: Shaquille O’Neal appears to promote “Toys for Tots” during the AOL BUILD Series at AOL HQ on December 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

“He is playing the game like he’s supposed to be playing. He’s leading, rebounding, he’s playing inside, he’s out there having fun. His PPG (Points per game) is more than the Joker’s and he’s a little bit better.

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“Not a lot better, he would be a 10 and Jokic’d be a 9.9762541! They are very, very close. But if you ask me my opinion, I am going with Joel Embiid this year.”

DIVE DEEPER

Is Nikola Jokic on His Way to Complete the Mamba Mentality Challenge Issued by Kobe Bryant?

about 1 month ago

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We suspect that the panel already knows the verdict of the voting since they also awarded Jordan Clarkson as the sixth man of the year on the show last night. Otherwise, Shaq would not have named Jokic the MVP.

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Bharat Aggarwal

755 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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