Nikola Jokic recorded figures never seen in the history of the NBA. Numbers that were not reached by Wilt, Kareem, Air Jordan or LeBron.

Having a historic season, the Serbian center for the Denver Nuggets has claimed his second Most Valuable Player award, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

The NBA plans to make the announcement in the next few days, possibly this week, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity on Monday because the results of the vote have not been released.

ESPN, which cited sources, was the first outlet to report Jokic’s appointment.

The center became the first player in league history to eclipse 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a season. Such dominance of the “Joker” convinced voters that he should be heralded as the 13th player in the exclusive club of MVP winners in successive seasons.

The other finalists — second and third in the same order — were Cameroonian center from Philadelphia Joel Embiid, who led the league in scoring average, and Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo, a two-time award winner and stalwart for the reigning champion Bucks from Milwaukee.

Jokic, 27, averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists on a team that lost its other two stars to injury: Jamal Murray (knee) and Michael Porter Jr. (back).

Forced to bear the brunt, the giant from Sombor, Serbia, responded by leading the Nuggets to a 48-win season. They finished sixth in the West before falling in five games to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs.

“It’s just been tremendous what he’s accomplished,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone recently said of Jokic. “I know I’m pretty biased, I’ll admit it openly — there’s no MVP competition. There are other great players. I’m not saying they’re not great, but what Nikola Jokic has done this year, with everything we’ve been through, is unbelievable.”

The award opens a key summer for Jokic, who is eligible to sign a maximum-dollar contract extension that could guarantee him $254 million over five seasons beginning in 2023-24. He will earn 32.4 million next season.

“There is nothing more important” than keeping Jokic, Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said recently.

Jokic joins a very select group by winning the award for the second season in a row. The other players who took him in successive years include Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, LeBron James (twice), Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Moses Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice). Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell won it in three consecutive seasons.


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