Nikola Jokic grimaced as his hold on the sheer rock face loosened. He had been climbing for what seemed like hours now and the day, which had started out so sunny and serene, had taken a turn. He had thought he felt the first few tentative drops of rain start to fall a few minutes ago, and now there was no doubt as to what the weather intended to provide. Unsure of what next to do, his eye caught a slim ledge a slightly above him and a few feet to his left. But how to get over there?
There was no time for much thought. Using a portion of his remaining strength, he lunged towards what seemed to be an acceptable handhold. Grabbing it deftly with his left hand, he used his momentum to swing his legs and lower back onto the ledge. Just as he was getting secure, the handhold fell clean off the cliff, plummeting hundreds of feet. He sat up, legs dangling into the abyss, and breathed deep.
Despite the rain, it was really quite beautiful, he thought to himself. The grey skies made the river valley in front of him become even more verdant. Trees seemed to pop out of the rocks behind them. Grasses and ferns adorned the banks of the winding stream, untouched by human hands. How nice, he thought. Why continue climbing? He looked up. The peak was in sight, a few hundred feet above him. But why? He had come plenty far, and the remainder would be a tough ascent. Why not just enjoy what he had accomplished so far?
Nikola shook his head. Carefully standing up, he stretched his legs and arms, and began to climb once again. The rain wasn’t making things any easier on him, but the path to the top was clear, and there seemed to be easy handholds and footholds every step of the way. Confident, he quickened his pace until he crested the top of the cliff.
Pulling himself up, he quickly realized that this was not the summit. It was merely a large shelf; the true summit lay in front of him. He began to walk. He had almost reached the base of the next rock face when suddenly a huge voice boomed out from the rain. “SHOOTING FOUL, JOKIC. SIX PERSONAL FOULS. LYLES INTO THE GAME FOR JOKIC.”
“Wait, wait, stop, no!” Nikola yelled, as the sky turned near black and the rain turned into a torrential downpour. “NO!”
The winds began to howl, and Nikola had no choice now but to retreat back the direction he came. As he did, the weather began to lighten again, so he made another attempt toward the cliff. But again, the raging winds and rain pushed him back. His tears cloaked by the torrents lashing him, he returned to what he had so foolishly thought was the peak, and sat on the edge. The winds receded, the rain became but a light sprinkle, the sun made its attempt to pierce the clouds, and he put his head in his hands.
How long he sat, he did not know, but after a while he thought he heard a jubilant voice echoing throughout the valley:
“M-V-P! M-V-P! M-V-P!”