Emotional Serbian NBA star gets MVP award in viral clip (VIDEO)
A video of tearful Serbian basketball ace Nikola Jokic receiving his second back-to-back NBA MVP award has gone viral after being viewed over 2 million times on social media.
The elite basketball championship announced that Jokic would be awarded its highest individual honor on Wednesday night.
In the meantime, however, his team the Denver Nuggets had flown out to eastern Europe to personally hand the gong to the 27-year-old.
The two-minute clip shows Jokic arriving at some stables in a small carriage pulled by a horse in his rural hometown of Sombor around 200 kilometers from Serbia's capital Belgrade.
Clapped by those present as they sing along to a traditional folk song being played in background, the 6ft 9in giant gets up and takes his helmet and sunglasses off to dish out greetings and hugs.
Surprise in Sombor✈️🇷🇸 We flew to Serbia to surprise the BACK-TO-BACK MVP! And, wow, this moment was special. pic.twitter.com/aFvIEDgnSj— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) May 11, 2022
Jokic becomes tearful and emotional with the tribute, and the clip then ends on him with his baby daughter and wife before lifting the crystal ball award to hearty applause and cheers.
In another clip also shared by the Nuggets, who have changed their Twitter profile and background pictures to feature Jokic, the superstar known as 'The Joker' tries to give an interview but is doused in confetti.
Back in the United States, he received praise from his coach Michael Malone who claimed he was "extremely grateful" to coach the center.
"I don't know what else you can say about Nikola at this point," beamed Malone. "He's consistently improved his game, he's consistently proved people wrong when they doubt him and he's consistently the best player on the floor night in and night out.
"I've said it many times before, I'm extremely grateful to coach Nikola Jokic and just as grateful for the bond that we've built off the court in our seven years together," Malone finished.
Jokic's impressive feat saw him become the second non-US player to win back-to-back MVP awards after the Milwaukee Bucks' 'Greek Freak' Giannis Antetokounmpo won in 2019 and 2020.
Simultaneously, Jokic also made sure that international players won the MVP for four consecutive seasons for the first time in NBA history, after the Phoenix Sun's Steve Nash from Canada won in 2005 and 2006 and was succeeded by Germany's Dirk Nowitzki from the Dallas Mavericks in 2007.
Further underlining their dominance in top-level basketball, international players finished 1-2-3 in MVP voting in 2022.
While Jokic received 65 first-place votes from the panel of sports journalists and broadcasters, and a total of 875 points, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid from Cameroon came second with 26 first-place votes and 706 points.
Though Antetokounmpo was third, with nine first-place votes and just 595 points, Phoenix's Devin Booker was the USA's best-placed player in fourth.
"I wonder what else I have to do to win it," pondered a disappointed Embiid this week.
"And to me, it’s like, at this point it’s like, it’s whatever. It’s all about focusing, not that I wasn’t focused on the bigger picture, but you know, it’s really time to really put all my energy into the bigger picture, which is to win the whole thing," he added, with the 76ers currently trailing the Miami Heat 3-2 in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-finals series.
To help claim the crown, Jokic averaged career-highs in points (27.1), rebounds (13.8) and assists (7.9) in 33.5 minutes per game.