The low point of the NBA season has been the interminable debate over the MVP. From Kendrick Perkins and JJ Redick stirring an empty pot about prejudice giving the leg up to Nikola Jokić in the MVP race to Doug Gottlieb bashing his own skull in, blithering on about how race helped Joel Embiid win MVP.
But few captured the absurdities quite like Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla. This was quite possibly the closest MVP race since 2017’s three-way battle between Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, and James Harden. I knew Joel Embiid was persona non grata within the Rocky Mountain State, I just didn’t realize it was this bad. In response to Embiid’s award, Kiszla, 2022’s Colorado Sportswriter of the Year, imbibed the copium and penned a 900-word column that was worthy of Blue Mountain State.
Kiszla leapfrogs right into it by stating outright that Nikola Jokić is better at basketball than Joel Embiid. Sure, it’s a valid, albeit biased, personal opinion, but that’s not what the award everyone has spent six months squabbling about is for. Need another reason Jokic is more deserving though? It’s that he passes the vibe test.
Kiszla conveyed that Jokić revealed how little he definitely doesn’t care– at all about the MVP winner being announced the next day. After taking a 2-0 lead on the Phoenix Suns, Jokic just wanted to swim, man.
“Hopefully it’s going to be a sunny day, so I can be in the swimming pool,”
His level of concern about the voting results?
“Zero interest,” Jokic said.
At this point, it’s time to ask why does he care so much if Jokić doesn’t either? The MVP race isn’t an exact science even if the Player Efficiency Rating’s correlation to the last decade of winners says the opposite. What are we seeking to accomplish here? And yet, we haven’t hit the juicy, cringeworthy center of his conversation.
There has been an abundance of focus on midsections in the NBA playoffs recently. James Harden’s elbow to Royce O’Neale’s groin, Embiid took a foot to Nic Claxton’s gooch, and Dillon Brooks’ scrotum punch to LeBron James was the death nail in his Grizzlies career, but Kiszla wants more of Jokić’s junk like Christopher Walken needed more cowbell.
Horses, hugs, and funny boxers
There are three things Jokić cares about more than the MVP race.
No. 1: Mucking out his horse stables back home
No. 2: Getting hugs from his young daughter
No. 3: Deciding what funny boxers to wear on game day
His what? Are funny boxers a thing? Who even sees them? I’m jumping ahead of the plot.
The Nuggets are blessed with a superstar who sees a big goofball in the mirror. He’s a Joker, to be sure, right down to his choice in underwear.
I wait so long in Denver’s locker room for Jokic to shower, dress and share his self-deprecating pearls of wisdom after a game, I should probably pay rent. But while cooling my jets, I have learned a thing or two. For example: Your Nuggets center has a wicked funny taste in boxers. Underneath the fine and stylish European attire he wears into the arena, Jokic sports wacky underwear that on any given night colorfully celebrates Budweiser the King of Beers, or might be adorned with the face of SpongeBob SquarePants.
After silencing Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and the grousing Suns, who seem to have a beef with a ref after every whistle, Jokic slipped into silly boxers that proclaimed “That’s what she said” across his booty.
Ah, the joys of locker room access. The scoops are aplenty as are the sweaty insights on ball. As my Deadspin brethren, Sean Beckwith noted, Kiszla has found joy in literally carrying Jokić’s jock. Am I hallucinating or is this veering dangerously close to Brendan Frasier’s locker room scene in Bedazzled? Props to Jokić if this info earns him a premium Hanes endorsement deal. Otherwise, who’s he showing this off for? Gag underwear doesn’t seem like it’s worth the effort.
Eventually, Kiszla lands this wayward plane by co-opting the wrong beer.
Jokic wore Badweiser Lite’s logo once on his drawers, but this feels like a betrayal to his base. I thought Denver was a division of Coors Country. Duff Beer is better and in 2023, the voters thought Embiid was too. It’s absurd that an entire column criticizing voters about their biases devolved into a love letter to Jokic and his junk.
Follow DJ Dunson on Twitter: @cerebralsportex