The 2023 NBA MVP race was one of the closest in recent memory, coming down to the superstar trio of 76ers center Joel Embiid, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Or... so most people thought.
When the NBA revealed Embiid won MVP last week, there was one particular thing that stood out on the voting ballot. Jokic only had 99 out of 100 possible votes, meaning one person left the two-time MVP off their ballot completely.
The consensus was it had to be a mistake, as Jokic nearly averaged a triple-double of 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 9.8 assists per game for the team that finished first place in the Western Conference.
Fans had to wait until each media member's ballot was revealed — as the NBA does every year — to find out who was responsible for Jokic's lone omission.
On Thursday, the NBA released the media ballots, and ESPN announcer Mark Jackson was the culprit. Every other media member had Embiid, Jokic and Antetokounmpo in the top three in some order.
Jackson went on SiriusXM NBA radio and explained that he made a mistake leaving Jokic off. You can find his full statement below.
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Why did Mark Jackson leave Nikola Jokic off his MVP ballot?
Jackson jumped on SiriusXM NBA radio with Justin Termine and Eddie Johnson to explain his mistake of leaving Jokic off of his MVP ballot.
"Mistake. One thing I live by, you make a mistake, you own it. I'm not a guy who does it for clicks, or to be trending. An absolute mistake made by me," Jackson began.
"You can tell. You're probably 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 deserves to be on my ballot, but he is one of the greatest players in the history of this game and is a top-10 center of all time," Jackson continued.
"I own it. If you want to take away my vote or do whatever, you're more than welcome. I made a mistake. I would have still voted Joel (Embiid) for MVP, but with Giannis and Joker second and third. They deserve that. Incredible year by (Jokic), he continues to make history. I own the mistake and I apologize."
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You can listen to the soundbite below.
"I apologize to Nikola Jokić. I apologize to the Denver Nuggets"— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) May 11, 2023
🏀 @MarkJackson13 explains his mistake of leaving Nikola Jokić off his MVP ballot on NBA Radio@TermineRadio | @Jumpshot8 | @nuggets pic.twitter.com/wO7KZJN2mo
Who was Mark Jackson's top-five MVP candidates?
Here were Jackson's top five candidates on his MVP ballot.
- 1st place: Joel Embiid, 76ers
- 2nd place: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
- 3rd place: Jayson Tatum, Celtics
- 4th place: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder
- 5th place: Donovan Mitchell, Cavaliers
Voting results for 2023 NBA MVP
- 1st Place Votes: 10 points
- 2nd Place Votes: 7 points
- 3rd Place Votes: 5 points
- 4th Place Votes: 3 points
- 5th Place Votes: 1 point
|Player||1st Place||2nd Place||3rd Place||4th Place||5th Place||Total Points|