Mile High MVPs: Looking back at Colorado’s most valuable player award winners prior to Nikola Jokic

With Nikola Jokic selected since the NBA’s Most Valuable Player on Tuesday, the Denver Nuggets center became only the eighth athlete in the history of Colorado’s four major professional sports teams to be named league MVP. Here’take a peek at the preceding seven:

Avalanche MVPs

Since the Quebec Nordiques jumped to Denver and became the Avalanche in 1995, the Avs have had two Hart Trophy winners since NHL MVP. A look at their MVP seasons:

Joe Sakic
Joe Sakic #19 of the Colorado ...Brian Bahr, Getty Images/NHLIJoe Sakic (19) of this Colorado Avalanche scores his first target despite Lubomir Sekeras (77) of this Minnesota Wild during game four of their very first round of the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs in the Xcel Center on April 16, 2003 in St. Paul, Minn..

Year: 2001

Statistics: Sakic led the Avs with 54 goals, 64 assists, 118 points along with a plus-45 rating. He played in all 82 regular-season games prior to major Colorado to its second Stanley Cup.

Around Sakic’s MVP year: Sakic had only two goals at the Avs’ very first 13 games before going on a tear, ending with two hat tricks and also six other multiple-goal games. Sakic reached 50 goals in the third-to-last match of this season before adding two goals in each of the past two. He finished second in NHL goal-scoring to Florida’s Pavel Bure (59) and second in scoring to Pittsburgh’s Jaromir Jagr (120) and edged Jagr and also Penguins teammate Mario Lemieux in Hart Trophy voting. Sakic also won the 2001 Lester B. Pearson Award (currently Ted Lindsay Award) as league MVP voted on by the gamers, along with the Lady Byng Trophy that goes to the player with excellent drama along with gentlemanly conduct.

Major second: Sakic had eight goals in his past four games, starting with a hat trick on April 2, 2001, in a 5-3 win against Edmonton. He scored the sole goal in a 1-1 tie with Anaheim on April 4 and also added two goals in each of the past two games in Detroit (4-3 reduction ) and in Minnesota (4-2 win).

Quotation: “When I return when my career is over, this is a time I will cherish … I’ve always attempted to remain consistent. This year that fell into place. How the team played, it left us look great. You only get to those events if you’re to a good, quality team. To go all the way and win the Stanley Cup, which ’s all we wanted. ” — Sakic in the NHL awards ceremony on June 14, 2001, in Toronto.

Peter Forsberg
Colorado center Peter Forsberg heated up before the match on March 24, 2008 in the Pepsi Center.

Year: 2003

Statistics: Forsberg led the NHL with 77 assists and 106 points despite missing seven games to harm. He tied teammate Milan Hejduk, who led the team with 50 goals, with a plus-52 score. Forsberg had a team-high eight points in seven playoff games.

Around Forsberg’s MVP year: He had an amazing 29 multiple-point games, including 14 of three points or longer. Forsberg had five assists in an 8-1 victory at Chicago on March 22, 2003, along with six points (goal, five assists) in a 7-3 triumph on Jan. 1, 2003. In the regular-season finale on April 6, he had a goal and 2 assists in a 5-2 victory over St. Louis. Forsberg beat out Vancouver center Markus Naslund, a fellow 29-year-old Swede, along with New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur in Hart Trophy voting. He also won the 2001 Art Ross Trophy (league scoring leader) along with the Bud Light Plus-Minus Award (shared with Hejduk).

Major second: He had two hat tricks, including Feb. 9, 2003, against Calgary in the Pepsi Center. Forsberg had just five shots but scored three of the Avs’ first four goals en route to a 4-2 success. More of a play-maker than a scorer, Forsberg had three games in 2002-03 where he scored on his only shot.

Quotation: “Skilled, gifted, nasty, dirty. If (Forsberg) desired to be mean, dirty, nasty, he can do that or if he wanted to kill you one-of-a-kind, score a fantastic goal — he could do that, too. ” — fellow 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mike Modano

— Mike Chambers, The Denver Post

Broncos MVPs

Since the Associated Press introduced the NFL Most Valuable Player award in 1957, the Broncos are represented three times: Quarterback John Elway in 1987, running back Terrell Davis in 1998 and quarterback Peyton Manning in 2013. A look at their MVP seasons:

John Elway

[SB33] Caption: MIAMI - Denver Broncos ...John Leyba, The Denver PostDenver Broncos John Elway observes his second Super Bowl success as the Broncos defeat the Atalanta Falcons on January 31, 1999, in Super Bowl XXXIII at Pro Player Stadium.Year: 1987

Statistics: Elway completed 224-of-410 moves (54.6percent ) for 3,198 yards, 19 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and also an 83.4 evaluation. He also scored four rushing touchdowns.

Around Elway’s MVP year: Elway has been 8-3-1 in the normal season (four games were canceled due to a strike). His passer rating was a career high to that point and he had two fourth-quarter comebacks (wins over Chicago and New England). Including the match, he needed seven games with two touchdown passes. Elway got the MVP nod over San Francisco receiver Jerry Rice, who had 22 touchdown grabs in 12 regular season games. The Broncos’ year ended with a 42-10 Super Bowl loss to Washington (14-of-38 for 257 yards, 1 touchdown and three interceptions).

Major second: In the AFC championship game win over Cleveland, Elway was 14-of-26 passing for 281 yards, three touchdowns and one interception and rushed 11 times for 36 yards. Elway’s 20-yard touchdown pass to running back Sammy Winder with 10:59 remaining broke a 31-31 tie.

Quotation: “I believe that he ’s the best thing . He’s that the 1 guy who can beat you if nothing else is still working for them. (Dan) Marino is so excellent, but Marino can’t even fight about and conquer you. Marino isn’t likely to run 35 yards up the field to conquer you. ” — New England executive Dick Steinberg in January 1988.

Terrell Davis
Denver Broncos Terrell Davis looks back at Seahawks defender #25 Reggie Tongue as he sprints for 57 yards on a hand off by Gus Frerotte in the third quarter.Hyoung Chang, The Denver PostDenver Broncos Terrell Davis (30) goes back in Seahawks defender Reggie Tongue (25) because he sprints for 57 yards onto flip side by Gus Frerotte in the next quarter.

Year: 1998

Statistics: Davis hurried 392 days for 2,008 yards and 21 touchdowns in the regular year and 78 days for 468 yards and three touchdowns in the match.

Around Davis’ MVP year: Davis submitted the fourth-ever 2,000-yard year and his total currently ranks sixth all-time and remains one of just eight 2,000-yard seasons. In Week 2 against Dallas, he became the third player with 2 touchdown runs of 50 yards in exactly the identical quarter (63 and 59 yards in the first quarter). In Week 7 against Jacksonville, he became the third player to reach 1,000 yards in his first seven games. And he rushed for 178 yards in the season finale against Seattle after submitting totals of 74, 88, 147 and 29 in the past four games. In the movie, he’d Patches of 21 rushes-199 yards (Miami), 32-167 (New York Jets) and also 25-102 (Atlanta).

Major second: In the AFC title game win over the Jets, the Broncos trailed 10-0 early in the next quarter, but scored on five of the next seven possessions to acquire 23-10. Davis’ 31-yard touchdown with 18 seconds left in the next staked the Broncos to a 20-10 lead. His first 32 rushing attempts were his most ever in a playoff match.

Quotation: ldquo;(Davis) isn’t only talented, he is unique. The man owns dimension, ability, vision, speed, speed, decision, burst, endurance, composure, balance, poise and a sense of teamwork. In my opinion, he is in a class with Jim Brown and Walter Payton. ” — Former Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy in January 1999.

Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning waves after his last game in Denver.Joe Amon, The Denver PostDenver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning waves to the crowd after the team defeat the New England Patriots in the AFC championship match in Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Jan. 24, 2016, in Denver.

Year: 2013

Statistics: In a 13-3 regular season, Manning led the NFL in completions (450), efforts (659), passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55, still a single-season record). He had five touchdowns and three interceptions in three playoff games.

About Manning’s MVP year: In his second year with the Broncos, Manning began quickly and not let up. He pulled for 462 yards and seven touchdowns (no interceptions) in the opening-night triumph over Baltimore, had 16 touchdowns and no interceptions in Weeks 1-4, eight games of four touchdowns, eight games of 350 yards passing and completed at least 70 percent of his efforts in four games. The Super Bowl has been a nightmare — 2 interceptions in a 43-8 loss to Seattle. Manning received 49 of the 50 MVP votes to win the award for the fifth time (still a record).

Major second: In a 37-13 Week 16 win in Houston, Manning entered 47 touchdown passes, three shy of tying New England’s Tom Brady (50 in 2007). He threw 36 yards to Demaryius Thomas, 10 and 20 yards to Eric Decker, and ultimately, 25 yards to Julius Thomas to your record-breaker.

Quotation: “I’d state (it’s) that a no-brainer correct there. I’m just happy I never needed to go against him this season. I’ve ever been beat by him several times. It was great to get a break. ” — Former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan in February 2014.

— Ryan O’Halloran, The Denver Post

Nuggets MVPs

Even though Nikola Jokic is your very first Denver Nuggets player to be named NBA MVP, he’s not the primary player in the history of this franchise to win such an award. That honour belongs to preceding Denver Rockets forward Spencer Haywood, who was selected because the ABA MVP for the 1969-70 season. A look at his MVP year:

Spencer Haywood
Spencer Haywood signs a print ahead ...Spencer Haywood signs a print ahead of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame 2014 Class Announcement in the JW Marriott on April 6, 2015 in Indianapolis.

Year: 1970

Statistics: Much like Jokic, the 6-foot-8 power forward was an ironman to Denver, directing to ABA in scoring (30.0 ppg), rebounding (19.5 rpg) and games played (84) since the Rockets maintained that the league’s Western Division title (51-33) despite starting the year 2-11. The precocious 20-year-old newcomer wasn’t just successful, he was efficient with a league-best 17.1 win shares and 28.0 PER in his single ABA season.

About Haywood’s MVP year: Prohibited from entering the NBA draft after his sophomore year at Detroit Mercy (through Trinidad State College) because of his era, Haywood was granted entry into the ABA because of “hardship situation. ” He revealed he flew nearly instantly. A year removed from leading the United States to a gold medal in the 1968 Olympics, Haywood shot the ABA by storm playing alongside veteran point guard Larry Jones, authoring among the best individual seasons in baseball history. It wasn’t even just the ferocity with which the future Hall of Famer played in the paintbut his endurance. Haywood emerged in all 84 regular-season games — yes, 84 — and averaged an immense 45.3 minutes per game while doing this. That number hasn’t ever been approached before or as in business history — partially because Haywood abandoned for the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics that the very next year.

Major second: On the final day of the season, Haywood place the finishing touches on his MVP effort with 59 points in a 152-116 victory over the Los Angeles Stars, for example 13-of-13 in the free-throw lineup.

Quotation: “He would play in any league and be a celebrity. ” — Knicks center Willis Reed, who was the NBA MVP that time.

— Matt Schubert, The Denver Post

Rockies MVPs

Since the Rockies’ beginning in 1993, just 1 player in franchise history has been called the National League’s Most Valuable Player — Larry Walker in 1997. A look at his MVP year:

Larry Walker
Colorado Rockies Larry Walker watches his ...John Leyba, The Denver PostColorado Rockies Larry Walker watches his struck leave the park across the left field wall for a house run in the 7th inning to deliver the Rockies within one run of the Indians in Coors Field on June 16, 2002. Even the Indians held on for the 5-4 win over the Rockies and choose two games .

Year: 1997

Statistics: Walker led the NL with 49 homers and a .452 on-base percentage, although leading the figures having a .720 slugging, 1.172 OPS and 409 complete bases. He also won his third Gold Glove and second Silver Slugger, and ended with a .366 average.

Around Walker’s MVP year: Walker has been a force while enjoying a career-high 152 games. He started the year on a tear, hitting .398 in the first half before tailing off slightly in the second half. He performed just as well from LoDo because he failed in Coors Field, with a .733 road slugging that was marginally better than his dwelling markers. He also stole a career-high 33 foundations. That, combined with Gold Glove defense in 150 games in right-field, made him a lively five-tool threat in the prime of his career. He gathered 9.8 in WAR, shirts for any positional player in the majors, and won the NL MVP race by a large margin over Mets catcher Mike Piazza and also Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell. Walker received 92 percent of their first-place votes, but his personal performance wasn’t enough to propel the Rockies to value, since they finished third in the division and missed the playoffs.

Major minute: With the state ’s eyes upon Walker in the all-star match at Jacobs Field, the Rockies slugger set on a display in the Home Run Derby. Walker blasted 19 homers, more than every other player in the derby, and has been runner-up after falling to the Yankees’ Tino Martinez in the final round. Then in the match , Walker showed his lighter sideturning his hands helmet around and stepping from the right-handed box against southpaw Randy Johnson. Walker eventually turned his helmet the appropriate manner, went to his customary lefty side and drew a walkafter plenty of responses from both dugouts.

Quotation: “(Walker) is being mentioned in exactly the identical breath with Hank Aaron such as Ellis Burks was past year (in 1996, finishing 3rd in NL MVP voting),” Rockies manager Don Baylor said in Sept. 1997.

— Kyle Newman, The Denver Post

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