Beautiful, exciting, spectacular, NIkola Jokic will never be enough for the NBA. Not enough to upset the double MVP, already one of the most talented basketball players in history, ready to guide Denver to a first crowning of champion against Miami. In 2014, there was very little case – except for the Nuggets, who however did not imagine how much they won the jackpot – of the arrival of the Serb in the league. Selected in 41st position in the draft, he had not been entitled to this small moment of glory live on American television, because his name had been called during an advertising page touting the products of a fast-food chain. tex-mex.
In nine years, neither the excellence of his basketball nor his many accomplishments have propelled him into a light other than that of the sports beam. Because Jokic doesn't advertise any product in the United States, he barely promotes a beer in Serbia, and he doesn't have any pair of sneakers in his name, despite being under contract with Nike. He is also one of the rare MVPs in this case, like Dirk Nowitzki in 2007. There is no doubt that if he did not wear "Air Jokic", he would sign to walk barefoot in the footsteps of the former German pivot, crowned champion with Dallas four years later.
So certainly, his clumsy look, his unconventional gestures, his nose which blushes under the effect of the air conditioning, give him a low artistic note, in the eyes of aesthetes who swear by “showtime”. But his technical rating is the opposite, extremely high, with his golden hands worthy of those of Larry Bird, according to coach Gregg Popovich, and that very high “basketball IQ” that any point guard would dream of.
Former Wizards player Gilbert Arenas pointed to this truncated perception, which determines the popularity of a player at the expense of his value, even if it means having harsh words. “Nobody cares if he becomes champion, nobody wants to watch him. He's not going to be a megastar, because he's not doing anything the kids want to see. He has a great game, but it's not exciting (...). You have to be an inveterate basketball fan to understand what the "Joker" does. The others swear by 3 points from afar, dunks or... the Lakers. We know what Jokic does, that's what a winning team looks like. But the NBA doesn't rely on that, it relies on the stars."
Not being "bankable" is not likely to upset the Serb, always quick to self-mockery. “Me out of balance? I've been out of balance all my life, so that's normal for me," he recently joked about his signature one-legged rainbow shot that hurt the Lakers so badly. .
The Serb, who averages 29.9 points, 13.2 rebounds and 10.1 assists (54.4% on shots and 47.1% from three points) in these play-offs, with already eight triples- doubles, one more than Wilt Chamberlain's old record, is nevertheless unanimous among the big players. As soon as he was eliminated in the Western Conference finals, LeBron James took his hat off to him: “I know how great he is. You are always unsettled when defending against him. He sees the game before everyone else. There aren't many players like that."
“Jokic will remain one of the greatest pivots of all time,” prophesied Kevin Durant, yet rather stingy with compliments, after he too was dismissed with the Suns. "The 'Joker' is changing the game before our eyes, like Michael (Jordan), Larry (Bird), LeBron (James), Steph (Curry), Kobe (Bryant), Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) and Shaq (O'Neal)", tweeted, the former glory Magic Johnson, which can obviously be added to this list.
These laurels so well braided do not seem to have to destabilize this peaceful man, whom nothing moves more than his horses. It was also in jockey outfit that he received his second MVP trophy last year, in Serbia, his country, where the ultimate star Novak Djokovic says he is one of his biggest fans. “He is the pride of Serbia”, thus proclaimed “Djoko” Monday, on the sidelines of Roland-Garros. "He's so humble," added "Nole." An opinion shared by Nuggets coach Michael Malone. “Success, money, fame never changed this guy. It's rare in this environment," he said.