Nikola Jokic, despite being the defending back-to-back NBA MVP, was one of the final two starters picked for Sunday’s All-Star Game. Beyond that, he may have only been the second-to-last rather than last because he took matters into his own hands.
Last week, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz discussed why the Joker doesn’t get more respect and/or attention in the NBA despite his excellence.
To start the conversation Dan asked what it will take — how many MVPs will he have to win — for Jokic to get celebrated in America for his talent. Dan gets right into it, asking if there is a ceiling on how famous and revered that a foreigner can be and if Americans are able to embrace somebody who is that kind of excellent with the stardom he deserves despite not being from here.
Greg Cote thinks it’s less the nationality and more the fact that Jokic plays in Denver. Mike Ryan also chimes in that Jokic is not particularly marketable either, and certainly not as marketable as other foreign stars such as Luka Doncic or Dirk Nowitzki. Mike also thinks what is missing for the Joker is memorable NBA Finals appearances, which are usually an opportunity to ball out in front of the entire basketball media machine with no split attention. Mike says he’s going to have to do it with dominance in the Finals so that you cannot deny his greatness.
10 Day Tony compares the Jokic situation to UFC and Islam Makhachev, who he calls one of the promotion’s best fighters but is also basically unmarketable. He points out there was just a great fight between Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski, but nobody really cared. And that’s what he sees with Jokic — he’s a foreigner and he’s just there and can’t be marketed.
Dan circles back around and notes that the excellence he’s talking about is something we’ve never seen before from someone of Jokic’s size. Although, Mike points out that we have seen dominant big men in the past, but not in the same way as Jokic. Mike even goes on to say that Jokic is Magic Johnson as a seven-footer. However, Witty splashes some cold water on the conversation by saying that Jokic is not appointment television, despite his prodigious skill. He goes on to say that can we really look back on this era and say that Jokic — whose stats he says should make him an MVP front-runner — is a three-time back-to-back-to-back MVP?
Greg says that people care that much about the MVP and that you really need to win championships to get Americans’ attention. Witty builds off that saying that one of the reasons Jokic doesn’t get more attention is that Denver lacks playoff success and has never even really felt like a big contender.
Mike says that if Jokic and the Nuggets can make it to the Finals, the media will be there to make him a star and it’s on his team to make it that far.
Meanwhile, at the All-Star media day, Chris Cote was out there asking the important questions ...
Local Hour: Here’s To The Dads
- We start the show by going back to a couple of topics we didn’t spend nearly enough time on yesterday: hurling objects at the grocery store and the potential fury of Ed Kelce. Then, Derek Carr may prevent Aaron Rodgers from being a Jet, JuJu Smith-Schuster gets called “TikTok boy,” and we discuss the end of the sports scapegoat.
The Big Suey: John Skipper & David Samson
- John Skipper and David Samson join Witty for another sports business hour post-Super Bowl! They cover Super Bowl TV viewership, the potential of a pay-per-view Super Bowl, the money in streaming, length of sports television deals, owners operating for “the now,” Forbes valuations of teams, Tom Brady’s future in the broadcast booth, Disney and ESPN’s future, and more.
Hour 1: Gun Violence In America
- John Woodrow Cox of the Washington Post joins the show to discuss his reporting on gun violence in America. He discusses the latest shooting at Michigan State, why our laws don’t evolve much, money in the gun lobby, and why we need to start looking more holistically at who the victims of gun violence are. Then, Stugotz refuses to call the Chiefs a dynasty, Tony’s Top 19 Quarterbacks, Roy’s Top 5 sports goats, and the future of Kyler Murray.
Hour 2: The Stugotz Calm App
- Mike Schur joins the show to share his Stat of the Day and scream the names of utility infielders into the void. Chris Cote is stressed about his style for NBA All-Star Weekend. Did Elon Musk buy himself a replacement for high school popularity with Twitter? And with Aaron Rodgers heading into darkness, it’s time to meditate with Stugotz.
Postgame Show: Volcanoes Are Having A Moment
- Volcanoes are having a moment, Stugotz doesn’t know his New York Knicks, and Dan thinks John Jaso was a power hitter.
Watch more below!
Check out the Le Batard and Friends YouTube page for more and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also follow the show on Twitter @LeBatardShow.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.