Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic has message for doubters after NBA Finals win: ‘Don’t bet against the fat boy’


Nikola Jokic is an underdog who became an NBA champion and Finals MVP after Monday night’s Game 5 victory in Denver. 

When Jokic became the Denver Nuggets‘ second-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the draft broadcast showed a Taco Bell commercial rather than Jokic being selected. 

A scouting report said he was “an average athlete lacking great speed and leaping ability.”

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Nikola Jokic shoots free throw

Nikola Jokic (15) of the Denver Nuggets shoots a free throw during Game 5 of the 2023 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat June 12, 2023, at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colo. (Jamie Schwaberow/NBAE via Getty Images)

Looking back, Jokic understands where evaluators were coming from. But when he spoke with ESPN’s Malika Andrews, he had some words of advice.

“They didn’t believe in the fat boy. It seems like it worked out. Don’t bet against the fat boy,” Jokic said.

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A viral picture of a Jokic as a chunky kid has been circulating for some time. But he entered the NBA at 6-foot-11, 255 pounds. 

That same scouting report also mentioned Jokic has a high basketball IQ and shoots well. 

That’s been on full display since he broke into the league with the Nuggets. He won two straight league MVP titles before being edged out by Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid this season.

Nikola Jokic plays against the Heat in Game 3

Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets in the fourth quarter of the Nuggets’ 104-94 win over the Miami Heat during Game 3 of the NBA Finals at the Kaseya Center in Miami June 7, 2023.  (AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

Now, he’s an NBA champion, and he was an easy choice for Finals MVP after two triple-doubles in the five games against the Miami Heat along with his average of 26 points and 14 rebounds. 

Jokic has also had a strong supporting cast in Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. 

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Nikola Jokic smiles with trophy

Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets is awarded the Bill Russell MVP trophy after winning Game 5 of the 2023 NBA Finals June 12, 2023, at Ball Arena in Denver, Colo. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

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“The Joker,” as he’s affectionately known, has been all business since entering the league. He was heard during his postgame press conference after Monday night’s win sounding a bit annoyed he had to stay in Denver until Friday for the championship parade. 

Jokic wants to return to his native Serbia



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