Shaq tells Nuggets star Nikola Jokic he didn’t deserve MVP award during live interview: ‘No disrespect to you’

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Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic picked up his third MVP award in four seasons on Wednesday, but not everyone was pleased with the voting results. Shaquille O’Neal was one of them. 

During an interview with Jokic on “NBA on TNT,” the former Los Angeles Lakers star let everyone know exactly how he felt and who he thought should have won the award. 

Shaquille O’Neal on the TNT NBA Tip-Off broadcasts live before the game on Oct. 24, 2023 at the Ball Arena in Denver. (Jamie Schwaberow/NBAE via Getty Images)

“You know I love you, you’re the best player in the league,” O’Neal began.

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“I want to congratulate you, but I want you to hear it from me first. I thought the SGA should’ve been the MVP, that’s no disrespect to you, but congratulations.”

O’Neal was referencing Oklahoma City Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who received 15 first-place votes, 40 second-place, 40 third-place, three fourth-place and one fifth-place nod.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander plays against Portland

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder, handles the ball during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Paycom Center on Jan. 11, 2024 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Joshua Gateley/Getty Images)

NUGGETS’ NIKOLA JOKIC WINS NBA MVP FOR 3RD TIME

“Thank you Shaq. We don’t judge people here, so that’s fine. It’s your opinion. I’m joking,” Jokic responded, letting out a laugh. 

The six-time NBA All-Star went on to add that “there’s a lot of players that deserve it.” 

O’Neal’s support of Gilgeous-Alexander stems from his stellar performance this season, which helped Oklahoma City to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference by averaging 30.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.2 assists. 

LeBron James pokes the ball away

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, knocks the ball from the hands of Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic during the second half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series on Saturday, April 27, 2024 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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Jokic became the seventh player in NBA history to win the MVP award three times in four seasons. He averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists, but was the only player to rank in the NBA’s top 10 in points, rebounds and assists per game this season.

He received 79 of a possible 99 first-place votes. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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