Basketball » Košarka | 71 gets. It was on that day, in the second round of the NBA draft, that theychoseayoung, chubbyguy from Sombor - Nikola Jokić, as the 41st pick. A commercial from one of the sponsorswas airingon theTVat the very instant hewas drafted. Instead of his picture, tacos were shown on screens.All theprophetsof theworld combined couldn’t have predicted what would follow, and nor could the very people who selected him in the draft. Nikola Jokić personally changed the complete trajectory and strategy of the club, which was still struggling to escape the „Carmelo Anthony era“ until recently. And now they’ve finally succeeded in that, by stepping into the era of Jokić, the first basketball player dressed in their jersey tobe declared the MVP of the NBA. “Anyone up for basketball?“ That question has marked Jokić‘s career, and the question [in Serbian] still stands onhis Facebook profile. If he posted it now, everyone wouldprobablyaccept the invitation. That’s because everyone knows Jokićwell today. Opposing players have nightmares aheadof theirduelswith the Serbian center, who continues to smash records. His name is oftenassociatedwith legends likeWilt Chamberlain,OscarRobertson, LarryBird, ShaquilleO’Neal et al.Hehas emulatedmany, andevensurpassed some. And all thatwas achievedby a guywhoonlywantedone thingupon arriving in Denver and the NBA: “I want to returnhome. I’mthe youngest childand Imissmyparents,”, said Jokić, whomade his bowonbasketball’s biggest stage at the age of 20. After receiving the award, Jokić responded to the questions of Shaq, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson, who first asked him whohewasspeakingtoonthephone whenhe received themagical news. “It was my family. Brothers, parents, my little nephew... A lot of people trusted me, a lot of people worked for me, so I could get here. And I worked too…There was a little bit of luck…and it’s just combining everything together.” Nikola is the first center to win theMVP award since Shaq in 2000. O‘Neal congratulated him for that, before asking his question: “Joker, it‘s Shaq.Thankyou! Becauseof you, the bigman is back in the game. You are the first bigman towin theMVP title in a long time. I thank you and I appreciate you very much. Coming fromSerbia as a kid, did you ever say to yourself ‘I will be an MVP in the NBA one day’?” And Nikola answered: “I didn‘t think I’d even be anNBAplayer.My goal when I started to play basketball backhomewas toplay in theEuroleague. My goal was to play in big clubs inSerbia. I sawmyself there, because thatwas thebiggest top league close to my country. But when the Denver Nuggets drafted me, it was anopportunity forme tobecome an NBA player, and I think I did a good jobof using that opportunity.This is the best season of my life, and the MVP award testifies to that,” concluded the NBA’s best player. In this historic season, his sixth in theNBA, Jokićplayedeverygame – 72 – averaging 26.4 points, with 10.9 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 1.32 ball steals during 34.8 minutes of play per game. He shot 56.6% from the floor and38.8%for three-pointers, aswell as 86.8%fromthe penalty line. Jokić is also the only player to have been a starter for all games over the last two seasons. Unlikemanyother athletes, glory and the adoration of the masses aren’t themost important things to Jokić, rather that’s his family. His family is his greatest support pillar and has had the biggest role in his progress. “The family lives through every match with me, every second. Dad took me to training sessions, and I cried at the first one.Mumis always there, inmy head, always talking to me. My wife is there and is withme every day. My brothers wanted to be NBA stars. They didn‘t succeed, but they showed me what I should and shouldn‘t do. I thank them for everything, and for this trophy, but this isn’t just a trophy, it‘s thewhole journey. Ifmyenjoymentof thegame ends, then I’ll have no more reason to play basketball.” Džokeru, Šek ovde. Hvala ti! Zbog tebe se veliki čovek vratio u igru, poručio je Nikoli Šakil “Joker, it‘s Shaq. Thank you! Because of you, the big man is back in the game,” said Shaquille O’Neal, speaking to Nikola.