The NBA opening night matchup between Nikola Jokic’s Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers had been crucial for the current Champions as it could possibly set the tone for the new season.
While they took on the Lakers in what seemed like a rematch of last season’s Western Conference finals, a former Lakers legend seized the opportunity to acknowledge the current Finals MVP as one of the all-time best players.
Shaquille O’Neal Gives High Honor to Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic
Shaquille O’Neal, one of the most dominant centers in NBA history, recently bestowed high praise upon Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic. When he was asked to rank Jokic’s place in the annals of NBA history, O’Neal didn’t hold back.
Shaq in his response said, “Definitely top 10, probably top five in centers to ever play the game… He’s definitely my favorite player because he reminds me of myself.” Shaquille O’Neal’s comparison to himself is a remarkable honor, given his legendary status in the league.
This compliment from O’Neal is significant, considering his standing as one of the greatest to have ever graced the court. It is also a recognition of Jokic’s exceptional skills and his impact on the game, particularly as a center. The acknowledgment from such a basketball figure further solidifies Nikola Jokic’s place in the elite category of the sport.
Jokic Helps Nuggets Beat the Lakers Comfortably in Season Opener
In his first game back for the Denver Nuggets this season, Nikola Jokic played an important role in a resounding victory against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets won 119-107, while Jokic’s triple-double performance was nothing short of extraordinary, with 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists.
LeBron James, the all-time NBA leading scorer, led the Lakers with 21 points in just 29 minutes of play, albeit to a disappointing loss. However, it was the defending NBA champion that fired off the season, clearly hoping to win it all again.
“Last year was amazing, we got one ring. Who wants another?” Michael Malone, the head coach of the Nuggets, said at the team’s ring presentation.
Nikola Jokic’s remarkable season opener demonstrates his unique form and skill on the court. He did not play much in the off-season, but he still picked up from where he stopped last season.
His stellar performance in the season opener has once again proved that he is among the best players in the NBA. And if he continues to play like this, he will be a threat in the league, making the Nuggets a strong competitor in the Western Conference with a chance to retain the championship.