As the Denver Nuggets tighten their grip on the NBA finals, their singular star is making a convincing claim for historical greatness
Hybridity has always been in Nikola Jokić’s basketball DNA; after all, this is a player who was famously drafted by Denver in the middle of a Taco Bell commercial for the quesadilla-burrito mashup known as a quesarito. The pretty, historic town of Sombor, where Jokić grew up, is tucked into the northwestern pocket of Serbia, flush against the borders with Croatia and Hungary; the Hungarian, Habsburg, Ottoman and Austrian empires have all, at various points over the past half-millennium, laid claim to it. Jokić, perhaps fittingly given his origins, has emerged over this postseason as the NBA’s ultimate border-hopper: a center with the touch of a guard, a prodigious scorer who’s better as a passer, the embodiment of total basketball, infinitely adaptable, positionless but always in position, a crossroads in human form.
As Denver tightened their grip on the finals with a coolly commanding Game 3 win in Miami on Wednesday night, a talent that once threatened to go unrewarded with the hard currency of titles has come thrillingly into mint. Jokić’s numbers – 32 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists – made him the first player ever to post a 30-20-10 game in the NBA finals. But most impressive was the way in which he accumulated these figures, with a freedom and variety that captured the best of his childhood heroes.
Written by Aaron Timms
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2023/jun/08/nikola-jokic-nba-finals-denver-nuggets under the title “A pickup truck doing ballet: Nikola Jokić is making the NBA finals his masterpiece”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.