Mark Jackson really left Nikola Jokic, the back-to-back MVP, and best player in the league, off his MVP ballot. He said it was a mistake and set an apology.
However, second place Nikola Jokic appeared on 99 — one voter left him out of the top five. It became an issue that reached the level of being discussed on TNT’s Inside the NBA, with Charles Barkley saying, “There was one person, I don’t even know this fool’s name, [who] didn’t even have Joker in the top five. People like that shouldn’t get a vote.”
That voter turned out to be former All-Star player turned head coach turned ESPN/ABC analyst Mark Jackson (some NBA fans looked it up once the official votes were released). Jackson owned his mistake, calling Eddie Johnson and Justin Termine on SiriusXM NBA Radio and apologizing for the error.
“One thing I live by, you make a mistake, you own it. I’m not a guy that does it for clicks or to be trending. Absolute mistake made by me. You can tell, I probably, in 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 deserved to be on my ballot, but he’s one of the greatest players in the history of this game. And he is a top 10 center of all time. So I own it. If you wanna take away my vote or do whatever more than welcome, I made a mistake. He deserves, in my opinion, to be clearly, I would’ve still voted for Joel Embiid the MVP, but with Giannis and Joker second and third. They deserve that. Incredible year by him. He continues to make history. I own the mistake and I apologize.”
Credit to Jackson for stepping up and admitting his error. He thought it was like an All-NBA ballot with positions (at least this year) and voted Embiid in as the center, leaving Joki? in the cold (Jokic was Second Team All-NBA because of the positional requirement).