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NBA MVP straw poll - Where Jokic, Luka, SGA and other contenders stand in our final vote of 2023-24 - ESPN

Nikola Jokic has never been particularly excited to make basketball history.

When the Denver Nuggets superstar center accepted his first NBA Most Valuable Player Award in 2021, he was asked if he was looking forward to getting the ceremony over with. «To be honest, yes,» Jokic told reporters.

The next year, as Nuggets coach Michael Malone emphatically pushed for Jokic to win the league's top individual honor, Jokic was asked what it would mean to win back-to-back MVPs. «I don't know. It doesn't mean anything special. I'm just trying to win basketball games,» he told reporters.

After Jokic led the Nuggets to the franchise's first NBA championship in June, he matter-of-factly declared in his postgame interview with ESPN, «The job is done. We can go home now.»

Now — whether he wants to or not — Jokic is on his way to further cementing his place in the innermost circles of NBA history. The MVP award's three-timer club boasts some of the greatest players in league history: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whose six MVPs are the most ever; Bill Russell and Michael Jordan, who each won five; Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James, who each won four; and Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, all of whom won three.

And in ESPN's final NBA MVP straw poll of the 2023-24 season, Jokic has not only put himself in position to join that elite group, he has expanded what already was a comfortable lead.

Jokic claimed 85 out of 100 first-place votes to build a 327-point lead ahead of his closest rival, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Since the NBA moved to its current voting format ahead of the 2016-17 season, one MVP has won by more than 300 points: Jokic in 2021.

To gauge where the MVP race stands right now, ESPN asked 100