Nikola Jokic has won the 2023 Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP award after his Denver Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat to win the franchise's first championship. Jokic averaged 30.2 points, 14 rebounds and 7.2 assists for the Nuggets as they won the series in five games. Jokic, who was heavily favored to win the award before the series even began, was chosen unanimously by the panel of voters for this award.

Jokic's award is historic on a number of levels. He is just the fifth internationally born player to win the Finals MVP award, joining Hakeem Olajuwon, Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the very exclusive club (though a sixth player, Tim Duncan, was born outside of the continental United States in the Virgin Islands). 

In winning this award, Jokic is the sixth different player to be named Finals MVP in the last six seasons. This is the first six-season stretch with six different Finals MVP award winners since the 2004-09 seasons. Parity is a rarity for this award, as the best players frequently win multiple championships in short periods of time, yet right now, a different star seems to find his way to the top of the league every season. The longest streak of non-repeating Finals MVPs the NBA has ever had came between 1974-81, an eight-year stretch.

While other big men like Antetokounmpo, Nowitzki and Duncan have won the Finals MVP award, all three of them primarily played power forward. That makes Jokic the first true center to win the award since Shaquille O'Neal in 2002. After Game 1 of the Finals, Jokic revealed that O'Neal was one of the players that he modeled his game after growing up.

Of course, Jokic is a stylistically unique player in the annals of NBA history. No big man has ever paired such incredible passing and post scoring. He is one of the greatest offensive players in NBA history, and he's just getting started. This was his first Finals MVP award, but it probably won't be his last.

Nuggets NBA championship gear released

The Nuggets have won their first NBA title ever. You can now buy Nuggets championship shirts, hats, jerseys, hoodies, and much more to celebrate the historic win. Get Nuggets NBA championship gear here now.

We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.