Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic through the eyes of his teammates – The Denver Post

NBA Finals MVP Nikola Jokic (15) of the Denver Nuggets holds the MVP trophy in one hand and his daughter Ognjena in the other on stage after defeating the Miami Heat at Ball Arena on June 12, 2023. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post )

Nothing about Nikola Jokic is ever contrived.

Not his palpable disappointment that Thursday’s championship parade delayed his return to Serbia, or his raw honesty about where basketball fits into his life.

“I think it’s still not the most important thing in the world,” Jokic said shortly after guiding the Nuggets to their first championship Monday night. “There are a lot of things that I like, that I like to do. It’s probably a normal thing. Nobody likes his job, or maybe they do. … They’re lying.”

His unique skill set sets him apart on the field, but who he is as a person may be even more extraordinary. Confident, content, quiet and private, Jokic is unlike any other NBA superstar. He would rather enjoy the sunshine by his pool than bask in any kind of limelight.

Amid the championship afterglow late Monday night, The Post polled a handful of characters in Jokic’s circle, seeking their favorite stories with the revered Serbian.

They gave examples of diligence and loyalty, spontaneity and courage. As evidenced by how he feels about his job, there is no singular way to describe Jokic, and it would be foolish to distill him into one story.

Jamal Murray (27) of the Denver Nuggets cries and laughs onstage after the fourth quarter of the Nuggets’ 94-89 NBA Finals victory over the Miami Heat at Ball Arena in Denver, Monday, June 12, 2023. (Photo by AARon Ontiveroz / The Denver Post)

Jamal Murray

The Nuggets’ proud Canadian was in the middle of the celebration Monday night, dousing and drenching anyone in his radius. Jokic, his preferred pick-and-roll partner, was less central to the festivities.

But somewhere in the middle of the party, Jokic wrapped his battered arms around Murray and dragged him to the back ducts of the locker room. With a champagne bottle tucked in Murray’s right hand, Jokic wrestled his point guard into the pool. Murray wouldn’t go down without his dance partner.

“He just dunked me in the pool,” Murray said, proud of the fact that he had dragged Jokic in with him.

The tandem made NBA history by becoming the first pair of teammates to each average at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists during a postseason.

“I think it was a pretty cool moment,” Murray said. “It was our little party together.”

Josh Kroenke

Even early in his Nuggets career, there were glimpses of who Jokic could become. As a rookie in 2015, Kroenke said Jokic would be in the gym every day with his two brothers, Strahinja and Nemanja, working on his game. Josh’s father, Stan, would also be there.

Denver Nuggets Governor Josh Kroenke holds the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy after the fourth quarter of the Nuggets’ 94-89 NBA Finals victory over the Miami Heat at Ball Arena in Denver, Monday, June 12, 2023. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz) /The Denver Post)

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