Seven years ago, the Denver Nuggets used the 41st pick in the NBA draft on an unheralded center from Serbia.  On Tuesday, Nikola Jokic became the sixth international player to win the NBA’s MVP.

Jokic was the runaway winner of the award, claiming 91 of the 101 first-place votes and 971 total points. He played all 72 regular-season games this season, one of just 11 players to accomplish that feat in this pandemic-shortened campaign, while also putting together one of the best statistical seasons in NBA history.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry finished second and third, respectively, behind Jokic in the final voting, followed by Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the winner the past two seasons, and Phoenix guard Chris Paul.

“The difference between this year was I started this season really well,” Jokic said. “I played kind of the whole season really well stat wise. I think this was the best season of my life and the cherry on the top is the trophy that I got. This is the best season of my life.”

He also became the first center since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000 to win the league’s top individual honor.