‘I Apologize To Nikola Jokic’ | With All Due Respect Mark Jackson, Leaving Jokic Off Your MVP Ballot Was A Bad Look

When Joel Embiid was named the 2023 Kia NBA MVP earlier this month it was widely expected. Then the ballot of an unnamed voter was leaked and the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic wasn’t in the unnamed voter’s top 5 for the award. We now know that voter is ESPN/ABC analyst Mark Jackson and he has a lot of explaining to do.

“Made an honest mistake with my MVP votes,” Jackson said on Twitter. “My apologies to the Denver Nuggets and Nikola Jokic. He’s not only a legitimate MVP candidate who deserved my vote, but he is truly one of the all time greats!” Again my apologies.”

Who Were Mark Jackson’s Top-5 MVP Finishers?

Jackson’s top five in order were: Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Donovan Mitchell.

The former New York Knicks point guard and Golden State Warriors head coach appeared on SiriusXM NBA radio and offered another apology to Jokic and the Nuggets, as well as an explanation for his error.

“Mistake,” Jackson said. “One thing I live by, you make a mistake, you own it. I’m not a guy that does it for clicks or to be trending. Absolute mistake made by me. I am thinking, how did I make that mistake? You can tell I put one center, two forwards and two guards, so I wasn’t even thinking.

“I apologize to the Denver Nuggets. I apologize to Nikola Jokic, who is not only in the MVP discussion and deserved to be on my ballot, but he’s one of the greatest players in the history of this game.

“He’s a top-10 center of all-time. I own it. If you want to take away my vote, or do whatever, more than welcome, I made a mistake.”

A Mistake

That’s all plausible by Jackson. It could be that the ballots were due and he rushed to get his in and made his All-NBA selections instead of top five MVP. If that is the case, let’s see his entire ballot and see what he did with All-NBA.

In the grand scheme of things it’s not the end of the world but it’s related to a problem the NBA has.

The league has never been better than it is right now. The talent dispersed across all 30 teams is incredible. But the league’s broadcast partners and some of its most important media members either trash the product, tell fans in more ways than one not to take it seriously until the playoffs, and actively ridicule the current talent.

Whether it’s ex-players talking about “back in my day” or the European bias against Jokic, or the fight against analytics and the eye test, it’s all so exhausting.

The game is great, and if there are people responsible for promoting it and telling its story who don’t care enough to take it seriously, study, analyze and make informed nuanced statements, then maybe those people should no longer have those jobs.

This is sports. It’s supposed to be fun and entertaining. But if you don’t enjoy the job, don’t care to watch the product, or can’t be bothered to fill out your awards ballots correctly, which impacts players’ salaries, then step aside.

There are countless others that would relish the opportunity to put the work in because they love it.

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