Joel Embiid started his journey to NBA MVP as a tall soccer prospect in Africa. He didn’t pick up a basketball until he was a teenager, and he didn’t start playing until he was in his late teens.
After deciding to switch sports permanently, Joel Embiid quickly established himself as a generational talent, despite suffering from frequent injuries. And the pleasant center quickly became the face of the rebuilding effort of the Philadelphia 76ers, which is more commonly known as The Process.
He has fully embraced the moniker and is now presented as Joel “The Process” Embiid before every home game.
Joel Embiid, an All-Star center and a two-time champion of the league’s scoring title, was crowned NBA Most Valuable Player on Tuesday night after defeating Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, a two-time winner of the award. Embiid has long campaigned for the accolade.
The 29-year-old Cameroonian player from Yaoundé averaged 33.1 points per game to earn his second consecutive scoring championship. He also pulled down 10.2 rebounds on average and matched a career-best with 4.2 assists per contest. Embiid has been sidelined with a sprained right knee, which caused him to miss one game during the playoff sweep of Brooklyn and the first game of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Boston, which Philadelphia won on Monday night. As a result, Embiid has been unable to contribute to the team’s success since the injury occurred.
Jokic came in second place in the vote for Most Valuable Player, while Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks came in third. Embiid earned 73 votes cast in the first-place category. Antetokounmpo garnered 12 first-place votes, while Jokic received 15 of them.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Embiid said. “It’s been a long time coming.” “A significant amount of labor. I’ve gone through a lot of trouble. I’m not just talking about basketball. This is a discussion about my own life. My account. Where I was born and raised. What it took for me to get here and the path that led me here.”
As the big man sat in a chair in the team hotel with his head buried in his hands, the 76ers watched on TV in Boston, erupted in applause, and began chanting, “MVP! MVP!” The chanting occurred as the 76ers watched the big man on TV. Embiid was emotionally overcome as his teammates James Harden, Tobias Harris, and Tyrese Maxey surrounded him with support and joy.
After that, Embiid said, “I’ll be back,” about the postseason matchup with the Celtics.
But what about Game 2, which will take place on Wednesday night?
“We shall see,” Embiid said.
Embiid will be the subject of a boisterous celebration once the 76ers come home for Game 3 on Friday night, regardless of whether or not he plays.
Embiid has been focused on attaining the NBA MVP award for a number of years and has actively pushed for it. Embiid, who was selected third overall in the NBA draft in 2014, had to sit out his first two full seasons due to injury before he could establish himself as one of the best big men of his time. This season, he was at his absolute best when he had three games with totals of 50 or more, including a career-high 59 points scored against Utah in November. He has 13 games in which he scored 40 points or more.
After Embiid led the 76ers to victory over the Celtics in April, coach Doc Rivers boldly declared, “The NBA MVP race is over.” Embiid’s performance included a total of 52 points and 13 rebounds.
On that particular night, Embiid did not engage in a debate with his coach or any of his Sixers teammates who spoke on his side.
Embiid said that it seemed likely that they were correct. “But we have bigger goals in mind.”
The voters took into consideration how long he had been serving. Despite the fact that he has once again dealt with ailments in the postseason, Embiid managed to participate in 66 games this season, which is the second-highest number in his career.
Since Allen Iverson won the award in 2001, Embiid has been the first Sixers player to win league MVP since then. Other members of the 76ers franchise to earn NBA MVP honors include Julius Erving (1981), Moses Malone (1983), and Wilt Chamberlain (1966-1968).
The injury to Embiid, on the other hand, may prove to be the determining factor in whether or not the 76ers win the NBA title. The Sixers have not been farther than the second round of the NBA playoffs since 2001 when one of their players last earned the Most Valuable Player award. The Sixers later won an NBA championship in 1983.
In 2001, the Most Valuable Player award was given to Allen Iverson. Julius Erving (1981), Moses Malone (1983), and Wilt Chamberlain (1966-1968) are some of the other Philadelphia 76ers who have won the individual league championship.
Embiid, who attended high school in Florida and played collegiate basketball at Kansas for one year, has established himself as the undisputed leader of his position in the NBA over the previous seven years. Embiid was formerly held up as a model for effective load management. Over the last two seasons, he has played a total of 134 regular-season games, and he became the first overseas player in NBA history to win the scoring championship with 30.6 points. He has been named to the All-Star game six times and finished second in the MVP voting each of the last two years, losing out to Jokic each time.
Antetokounmpo was victorious in both 2019 and 2020. Jokic in the years 2021 and 2022.
Embiid started playing basketball when he was a teenager in Africa. His buddy told him that very few 7-footers succeed in soccer, so Embiid decided to try basketball instead. Now, Embiid is the recipient of the prize.
A few months later, Embiid was enticed to attend a basketball camp in the Cameroonian city of Yaounde conducted by an NBA veteran named Luc Mbah a Moute. Mbah-a-Moute is one of just two Cameroonian players to have ever played in the NBA. Mbah a Moute successfully persuaded Embiid’s parents to allow him to go to Florida, around 6,000 miles away and assisted in enrolling Embiid at Montverde Academy, which is widely regarded as having one of the most prestigious academic programs in the United States. During his lone season at Kansas, he participated in just 28 games before transferring to the NBA.
“I am tremendously pleased for Joel, awarded Most Valuable Player. Rivers said that he is “the real deal” and deserves all the praise sent in his direction. “He is the living embodiment of everything that this distinction represents. He has an unrivaled desire to improve, and as the adage goes, “A dream doesn’t become a reality through magic; it takes hard work,” he has put in the effort to grow.
Early on in his career, Embiid was notorious for sucking down Shirley Temples. However, throughout his career, he has worked with sports nutritionists to create better eating habits and has simplified his exercise routines.
Fans of the Sixers will be able to enjoy him for many years. The new extension of Embiid’s deal, worth $196 million over four years and does not begin until the next season, takes effect through the 2026–2027 basketball season.
The name “MVP!” was chanted by Sixers supporters throughout the whole game, beginning with the pregame introductions and continuing until Embiid’s last free throw attempts. In addition, billboards featuring Embiid with the tagline “MVPIID” were put up all around Philadelphia.
Embiid has a baby with his long-term fiancée named after his brother, who passed away. Embiid has made 394 career starts and has compiled career averages of 27.2 points and 11.2 rebounds. He has been chosen for the All-NBA Team four times and the All-Defensive Team three times.
The fact that an overseas player has won Most Valuable Player honors for the fifth year in a row is the longest active stretch in NBA history. It’s also the second time overseas players have swept the top three spots in NBA MVP voting; the first was during the previous season.
Embiid is the second player to win the award from Africa, following Hakeem Olajuwon, a Nigerian who won the prize with the Houston Rockets in 1994.
“His impact on both sides of the ball places him in rarified air among all-time greats such as Hakeem, Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), and Wilt,” said 76ers President Daryl Morey. “His impact on both sides of the ball places him in rarified air among all-time greats.” “It has been a distinct honor for me to follow Joel’s development over the past three seasons, and I’m confident that this achievement won’t be his last as we continue to work toward our ultimate objective of winning an NBA championship.”
Philadelphia has a golden run of exceptional athletes rising to the occasion at the right time. Bryce Harper, a batter for the Phillies, was named the National League Most Valuable Player in 2021 and the National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player in 2022. On the other team, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was a contender for NFL MVP and led his team to the Super Bowl.
Both of them fell short of the ultimate goal for the championship.
Although he plays the playoffs on one leg, Embiid still has a chance to win a championship ring.