After facing criticism from NBA enthusiasts for leaving Nikola Jokić off his MVP voting ballot, ESPN’s Mark Jackson offered an explanation regarding his decision to exclude the Nuggets star from his top five.
Jackson, a longtime NBA analyst and former point guard and coach, found himself in hot water after Thursday’s unveiling of the voting results for the 2022-23 MVP award revealed he was the only voter to exclude Jokić from their ballot. Jackson’s vote included a top five comprised of Joel Embiid, who won the award on May 2 and Giannis Antetokounmpo–candidates chosen by all 100 voters—as well as Jayson Tatum, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Donovan Mitchell.
A few hours after the news, Jackson addressed the controversy during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio, where he admitted his head-scratching decision was a “mistake” before noting it had nothing to do with disrespecting the two-time MVP.
“Mistake. One thing I live by, you make a mistake, you own it,” Jackson said on NBA Today. “I’m not a guy that does it for clicks or to be trending. Absolute mistake made by me. I am thinking, ‘How did I make that mistake?’”
Jackson then issued an apology to the Nuggets and Jokić for his ballot, and confirmed he still would’ve voted for Embiid first followed by Antetokounmpo and Jokić in second and third, respectively. He also floated the idea of having his MVP vote taken away in response to the public reaction, although he likely meant it in jest as he reiterated once again that he simply made a mistake.
“I apologize to the Denver Nuggets, I apologize to Nikola Jokić, 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,” Jackson continued. “I own it, if you want to take away my vote or do whatever, more than welcome. I made a mistake.”
As if his radio comments weren’t enough, Jackson later took to Twitter to acknowledge and apologize for the snub. Needless to say, the 58-year-old has showed plenty of his remorse for his mistake now that he’s been identified as the lone non-Jokić voter on this year’s panel.
Tweeted Jackson, “Made an honest mistake with my MVP votes. My apologies to the Denver Nuggets and Nikola Jokic. He’s not only a legitimate MVP candidate who deserved my vote, but he is truly one of the all time greats! Again my apologies.”
Made an honest mistake with my MVP votes. My apologies to the Denver Nuggets and Nikola Jokic. He’s not only a legitimate MVP candidate who deserved my vote, but he is truly one of the all time greats!— Mark Jackson (@MarkJackson13) May 11, 2023
Again my apologies