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Nikola Jokic jokingly compares self to LeBron James: 'We're the same athletic-wise'

Chris Cwik
·2-min read

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James doesn’t compare to Nikola Jokic. The Denver Nuggets big man was asked to compare himself to James and wasted no time saying he and James were the “same athletic-wise.”

Jokic didn’t stop there. He also said he was about as fast as James and questioned whether he could jump higher than James. Jokic managed to keep a straight face for 20 seconds, but eventually broke down laughing and admitted he was just joking.

It was an impressive commitment to the bit. After Jokic breaks character, he gives a sincere answer about James being “the best player in the league.”

“Oh yeah, the speed is there. We are the same athletic-wise ... I don’t know if he can jump as high as me, actually. But we are kinda similar in quickness. You know, he’s a little bit older, so I don’t know, can he keep up with me?” Jokic said.

At that point, Jokic begins to laugh. He quickly offers up the following: “I’m joking. I mean, oh my God. Guys, he’s the best player in the league. He’s the guy who been best a long time and affects the game in every possible way.

“There is some kind of similarities because how we affect our teammates. I think that is similar. And just that.”

Nikola Jokic points during a game.
Nikola Jokic was able to keep a straight face for 20 seconds before he started laughing. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Nuggets trying to catch Lakers in Western Conference

Jokic was asked about James because the Nuggets are trying to catch the Lakers in the Western Conference. At 12-8, the Nuggets sit in the fourth spot in the West. The Lakers are currently tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for second at 16-6. The Utah Jazz lead the West at 16-5.

If Jokic and the Nuggets can reach the Lakers, the Nuggets would be in the running for the top spot in the conference. While Jokic — who is averaging 26.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game — is trying his best to help the team get there, the Nuggets haven’t made much progress in the standings the past few weeks despite going 7-3 over their last 10 games.

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