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Nikola Jokic has won the 2023-24 NBA Most Valuable Player award, the league announced Wednesday night. Jokic has now won the award in three of the past four seasons, making him the first player to do since LeBron James. He is the seventh player overall to win three MVPS in four years, joining Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and James to do so, and he is the ninth player to win three MVP awards overall, with Michael Jordan and Moses Malone rounding out that list.

Jokic made a real run at winning four MVPs in a row, but lost a competitive race to Joel Embiid last season. Embiid was favored earlier this season, but when a torn meniscus sidelined him, Jokic took control of the race and never surrendered it. Jokic finished the regular season having averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and nine assists per game. As he does almost every year, Jokic led the league in almost every major advanced metric, including, but not limited to, PER, Win Shares, Offensive Win Shares, Win Shares Per 48 Minutes, Box Plus-Minus, Offensive Box Plus-Minus, Defensive Box Plus-Minus and Value Over Replacement Player.

As the defending Finals MVP, Jokic entered this season with higher expectations than he's ever faced. He handled them brilliantly in the regular season. The Nuggets ultimately won 56 games and earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference despite losing key reserves Bruce Brown and Jeff Green to free agency and playing 23 games without top teammate Jamal Murray due to injury. Jokic and the Nuggets, however, are facing their toughest challenge of their last two playoff runs at the moment. They trail the Minnesota Timberwolves, 2-0, ahead of Game 3 on Friday.

As dominant as Jokic has been, he faced serious competition from across the NBA for this honor in the first year of the league's 65-game awards threshold. Giannis Antetokounmpo became the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game on 60% shooting from the field. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the youngest team in NBA history to ever earn a No. 1 seed. And Luka Doncic was the first player in NBA history to average 33 points, nine rebounds and nine assists per game over a full season.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished second in the voting, Doncic was third, Antetokounmpo was fourth and Knicks guard Jalen Brunson edged Celtics forward Jayson Tatum for the fifth-place finish. Here are the full voting results:

Individually, SGA, Luka and Giannis had compelling cases, but all three had flaws as well. Doncic is not known for his defense, and his team was a No. 5 seed. As well as Antetokounmpo played, his team's season was chaotic at best and included a midseason coaching change. Gilgeous-Alexander dealt with a quad injury down the stretch that limited his impact on the final few weeks of the season.

Jokic's case was bulletproof. He was the best player in the NBA on opening night, and to most, he remains the best player in the NBA today. Jokic may have narrowly missed out on four straight MVPs, but three in four years puts him in very impressive company. Jokic is already an all-time legend, and he's still smack dab in the middle of his prime. He's only going to continue climbing that historical ladder and joining more and more exclusive clubs. If it gets any better than three MVPs in four years, you can bet Jokic will find a way to show us what that looks like.