Nikola Jokic trash talked Victor Wembanyama and hilariously admitted his own defeat

Nikola Jokic tried to trash talk Victor Wembanyama. It didn't work.

Nikola Jokic, Victor Wembanyama
Nikola Jokic, Victor Wembanyama / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets toppled the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, 110-105. That is the expected outcome, of course. The Nuggets are a contender locked in a battle for postseason seeding. The Spurs, meanwhile, are a rebuilding team riddled with injuries (or at least a bad case of tankitus).

What unfolded, however, was a battle between the present and the future. The best player in the NBA facing (probably) the best player in the NBA five years from now. Nikola Jokic and Victor Wembanyama both put on a show, with Wemby managing a few highlight-reel moments against Jokic.

This sequence was the best part of the night. I'll admit to not seeing Godzilla vs. Kong yet, but it has to feel something like this. Two kaijus waging battle in front of an enwrapped, perhaps slightly frightened audience.

Wembanyama finished the game with 23 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists, and nine blocks (lol) on 9-of-29 shooting. Jokic was equally unreal, dropping 42 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, and two blocks on 18-of-32 shooting.

When asked about the battle of bigs post-game, Jokic was candid about his interactions with the Spurs' burgeoning superstar. He even admitted to a bit of trash talk, which failed spectacularly.

"If you block one more shot, I'm gonna ... But he blocked like four after that, so I didn't do anything about it."

Nikola Jokic admits comical failed trash talk against Victor Wembanyama in Nuggets vs. Spurs

It has to be said, Jokic has been cultivating some spectacular dad energy lately. He has never been one to open up to the media, but Jokic was more than happy to praise Wemby and drop a few sly jokes in the process.

When asked if battling a young Wembanyama bears any similarities to Jokic once facing Tim Duncan as a young player — with Jokic aging into the mantle of big man elder statesman, apparently? — Jokic was quick to deflect the flattering comparison to an all-time great.

"I think I'm far away from Tim Duncan. Wemby did a much better job if I'm Tim Duncan than I did against Tim Duncan."

Jokic has long been humble, almost absurdly so. But, in the end, it's impossible not to draw comparisons to past passings of the torch. We can be clear — Jokic is not ready to hand off the Best Player in the World mantle any time soon — but Wembanyama is definitely next up. It's fitting that even in today's "modern" game, with spacing and shooting at a premium, the greatest players are still 7-footers who can overwhelm their opponents with a mesmerizing blend of physical dominance and textbook skill.

We should be treated to plenty of great battles between Wembanyama and Jokic in the future. It's a fascinating contrast in styles. Jokic is a physical bruiser, comfortable tossing his weight around and bullying mismatches in the post. Wemby's game is based far more in finesse, focused on going around or over top of the defense.

Hopefully we get to see this matchup in a seven-game series sooner than later. Jokic should have several prime years left in the tank, and it's hard to imagine Wembanyama staying out of the playoffs for much longer.

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