We did it Denver Nuggets fans.
The NBA announced today that Nuggets center Nikola Jokić would represent the Western Conference as a starter in the 2021 All-Star game.
Jokić joins LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, and Luka Doncić in the starting five in the Western Conference. James was voted the captain by the fan vote, while Jokić was the second highest composite score in the frontcourt behind LeBron.
The starters in the Eastern Conference are Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid.
This is about Jokić though, the kid from Sombor, Serbia who was forced by necessity to grow up in the NBA. His development path is legendary, going from a player the Nuggets drafted that couldn’t do push-ups to an All-Star starter in the most competitive basketball league in the world. He’s averaging 27.4 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game, all of which rank in the top 10 across the NBA. He leads the league in a smattering of advanced statistics, and he has put the Nuggets on his back to keep them afloat during a difficult time for the team.
More than that though, he has garnered respect around the NBA and the world alike. Jokić ranked second in the three major voting categories—fans, players, and media—in the frontcourt behind only LeBron, all of which point to the work he has put in to becoming a better player than even his biggest supporters thought he could be. He had to make up a number of factors working against him, and the national respect he has received in this voting period has to feel good for the Nuggets organization, fans, and of course Jokić and his family.
Congratulations to the Joker! Hopefully this is the first of many All-Star starting spots Jokić earns throughout his career. He definitely earned this first one.