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ESPN’s Mark Jackson apologizes to Nikola Jokic for MVP vote snub

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ESPN’s Mark Jackson, the former Golden State Warriors head coach, has apologized to Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic for leaving the five-time All-Star off his MVP ballot. Jackson, 58, was the only voter to not have the two-time MVP in his top-five selection.

Jackon’s decision was leaked Thursday afternoon. The ESPN broadcaster picked Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Donovan Mitchell in that order over Jokic. “Made an honest mistake with my MVP votes,” Jackson posted 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.”

Per multiple NBA betting sites, Jokic was the clear-cut favorite to win the award in the second half of the season. However, due to injuries and lackluster performances, sportsbooks boosted Embiid’s chances in the final weeks of the regular season.

“You can tell I put one center, two forwards, and two guards, so I wasn’t even thinking,” Mark Jackson added. “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-ten center of all time. So, I own it. If you want to take away my vote, or do whatever, you’re more than welcome. I made a mistake.”

ESPN’s Mark Jackson voted for Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Donovan Mitchell over Nikola Jokic for MVP

On Thursday, NBA on TNT analyst Charles Barkley voiced his opinion on the topic after the story broke. “There’s one person — I don’t even know this fool’s name — didn’t even have Joker in the top five. People like that shouldn’t get a vote … He’s a damn idiot.”

Mark Jackson made a crucial mistake, and it’s true that certain media members should not be allowed to participate in the voting process. This past regular season, Nikola Jokic averaged 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 9.8 assists, 1.3 steals, and 33.7 minutes per game in 69 starts with Denver. Plus, he shot a career-best 63.2% from the field.

Jokic also led the NBA in true shooting (70.1%), player efficiency rating (31.5), win shares (14.9), offensive win shares (11.2), box plus/minus (13), offensive box plus/minus (8.5), defensive box plus/minus (4.5), value over replacement player (8.8), and triple-doubles (29).

Additionally, Mark Jackson said during an interview with “NBA Today” on SiriusXM that he thought he was voting for All-NBA teams. Had the former Golden State coach known, he mentioned he would have included Jokic third on his list, ranking behind Embiid and Antetokounmpo.

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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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