Nikola Jokic dryly doused us with jokes ahead of Thursday’s showdown against LeBron James, only to catch a serious reminder of why the Los Angeles Lakers star remains atop this week’s Kia Race to the MVP Ladder.
“Guys, he’s the best player in the league,” Jokic said of James on Wednesday. “He’s a guy who [has been] doing this for a long time and affects the game in every possible way.”
James provided plenty of evidence in the Lakers’ 113-93 win over the Nuggets by reeling off his second triple-double (27 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) of the season — not to mention the 96th of his NBA career — while also sliding past Wilt Chamberlain for third place all-time in career field goals made (12,691), as Los Angeles captured its 11th victory in 14 games.
“Anytime I’m in the category of some of the greats that have ever played this game is just very humbling,” James said in his TNT postgame interview. “To hear me linked with the great Wilt Chamberlain is an unbelievable feat.”
James capped his highlight-filled night with this nasty dime to Talen Horton-Tucker
“For me to go out here and do the things I do every single night is a testament to the man above, and also my loved ones, who have given me the support every single night to go out and do what I love to do,” James said. “So, I just try to give back to the game. The game has given me so much over this 18-year career so far, and I hope I just continue to give back to it.”
We do, too.
But let’s remember we’re nearly just a third of the way into the season, which means there’s still plenty of time for players to move up and down the MVP Ladder.
On a more somber note, as you all know, just 11 days ago we lost dear friend Sekou Smith, our MVP here at NBA.com. In continuing this feature that Sekou made special for so many of us all over the world, we can only hope to constantly honor him, his family, and his boundless love for the game.
We miss you dearly, boss
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