ESPN’s Mark Jackson apologizes after the NBA announced he removed Nikola Jokić from his MVP pick

The Secret of Nikola Jokic Fixed MVP snubber. The culprit: ESPN’s Mark Jackson, who was quick to apologize after being exposed on Thursday.

For more than a week it had been clear that an MVP voter had left the party Denver Nuggets then center your ballot completely The voting results have been announced. Out of 100 voters, Jokić received 15 first-place votes, 52 second-place votes, and 32 third-place votes, for a total of 99 appearances.

The snub didn’t cost Jokić a third straight MVP award – He still managed a lot less Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embid and his 73 first-place votes — but it seemed like a pretty clear-cut attempt to limit his chances, or at least oppose his candidacy ideologically. After all, nobody voted him for fourth or fifth place.

Clarity finally came on Thursday when the NBA released the ballots of all 100 voters. Jackson, former NBA All-Star and head coach of the Golden State WarriorsHe was the only media figure without Jokić in his top 5.

Here’s how he voted instead.

Mark Jackson’s NBA MVP pick without Nikola Jokić

  1. Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers

  2. Giannis AntetokounmpoF, Milwaukee Bucks

  3. Jayson TatumF, Boston Celtics

  4. Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderG, Oklahoma City Thunder

  5. Donovan MitchellG, Cleveland Cavaliers

Mark Jackson explains his MVP pick

Less than two hours after the unveiling of that ballot, Jackson appeared on SiriusXM to explain himself. He called the vote a “mistake,” implying he thought he was taking an All-NBA vote, and apologized to Jokić and the Nuggets.

Jackson said he would understand if he was voted out in the future.

“Mistake. One thing I live by is that you make a mistake, you belong. I’m not the type to do this to get clicks or be trending. Absolute mistake on my part. I’m thinking about how I made that mistake.” ? You can tell I put up a center, two forwards and two guards so I wasn’t even thinking. My apologies to the Denver Nuggets, my apologies to Nikola Jokić, who’s not just in the MVP discussion and deserves to be on my ballot, but he’s one of the greatest players in the history of this game. He’s a top 10 center of all time.

“Well, it’s mine. If you want to take away my vote or whatever, you’re welcome. I have made a mistake. I would still have voted for Joel Embiid, the MVP, but with Giannis and Joker second and third.” You deserve that, an incredible year from him, he continues to make history. I own the mistake and apologize.”

He apologized again on Twitter, calling Jokić a legitimate MVP candidate and an all-time great.

Charles Barkley and many others beat up the snub Nikola Jokić, unaware that it was Mark Jackson

Jackson’s ballot drew criticism when NBA fans did the math last week, and one of the most vehement criticisms came from fellow broadcaster, former fellow NBA player Charles Barkley.

The longtime TNT commentator had his say on the Jokić snubber during a segment on “Inside the NBA” On Monday:

“There is something that bothered me. Joel deserved the MVP and Joker and Giannis they were 1-2-3 no matter how you voted. There’s one person – I don’t even know the name of that idiot – didn’t even have Joker in the top 5. People like that shouldn’t get a vote.

“For the past six months we’ve talked about Joker, Giannis and Embiid. If you have a TV or you actually watch basketball and you think he shouldn’t have been in the top five, you don’t deserve a vote. You could be like some of those idiots we have out here voting for President… He’s a fucking idiot.

It should be said, if a person rightly disagrees that a player wasn’t among the NBA’s top five most valuable players during a season, they should have the right to remove him or her from their ballot. But that clearly didn’t happen here.

ESPN analyst Mark Jackson watches before the game between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on February 25, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Celtics defeated the 76ers 110-107. NOTICE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this photograph, they agree to the terms of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Mark Jackson had some explaining to do. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

As Barkley and later Jackson argued, one would have to bury one’s head in the sand for a long time to conclude that Jokić shouldn’t be on the MVP ballot at all. Averaging 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 9.8 assists per game, he nearly averaged a triple-double while averaging a career-best 63.2% and leading his team to a 53-29 record best in the Western Conference.

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