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.”
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.
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.
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.
“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.