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Nikola Jokic Just Wants To Go Home

Nikola Jokic (15) of the Denver Nuggets celebrates as he leaves the court after the fourth quarter of the Nuggets' 94-89 NBA Finals clinching win at Ball Arena in Denver on Monday, June 12, 2023.
AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post

Nikola Jokic did his cursory celebrating on Monday night after winning Finals MVP and leading the Denver Nuggets to their first NBA championship. He dragged Jamal Murray into a pool. He put on some victory goggles and sprayed exactly one droplet of champagne. Enough. He must now go home. He has things to do. He has horses to tend to. "He's kind of acting like this is was just another game," head coach Michael Malone told reporters.

This was clear from the moment the game ended. "You are an NBA champion, Nikola. How does that feel?" Lisa Salters asked Jokic in the postgame interview. "It's good. It's good," he said. "But the job is done. We can go home now."

If only it were that simple. Over the course of the night, Jokic was made aware of one inconvenient obligation. When a reporter asked him if he was looking forward to the championship parade in Denver, Jokic was dismayed to learn that this "parade" is not until Thursday, and will delay his return home to Serbia by at least three days. Drat!

Now burdened by his knowledge of this looming and untimely event, Jokic joined the NBA TV panel for a separate postgame interview. This time, he was better prepared to lodge complaints about the parade when someone on the panel brought it up. "Yes!" he interrupted, pained. "I need to go home! Sundays I have my horse racing in my hometown."

As he continued mulling over return flight logistics, he remembered one advantage of playing as well as he had in this season and in this series: Maybe now Nuggets president Josh Kroenke would let him use the team plane to go home. "I put him under the pressure," Jokic said. He did. Josh Kroenke, let him go home.

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