Joel Embiid Wins First NBA MVP Award After Exceptional Season
After finishing as the runner-up for two consecutive seasons, Joel Embiid has finally won his first NBA Most Valuable Player award. The announcement came on Tuesday, with Embiid edging out Nikola Jokic, who had won the award in the past two seasons and was trying to become the fourth player in NBA history to win three in a row. Embiid received 73 out of a possible 100 first-place votes, with Jokic receiving 15 and Giannis Antetokounmpo receiving 12.
Embiid's win is a long time coming, but historical voting data from Basketball Reference shows that he only ranks in the middle of the pack for accumulated MVP share before winning his first trophy. Nevertheless, Embiid's performance this season was truly exceptional. He led the league in scoring, averaging 33.1 points per game, and also contributed 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game, while anchoring the NBA's eighth-ranked regular-season defense.
Embiid's win marks the first time a Philadelphia 76er has won the award since Allen Iverson in 2001. However, it is ironic that the Sixers had their best record during Embiid's career this season in the games he missed. They went 11-5 in the regular season without him and are currently sitting at 2-0 in the playoffs, despite Embiid missing Game 4 of their opening-round series and Game 1 of the second-round series against the Boston Celtics, which the Sixers won 119-115.
Embiid's journey to this point has not been easy. He sat out his first two seasons in the NBA due to two foot surgeries, and then had season-ending surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee during the 2016-17 campaign. Embiid has also dealt with various injuries during his career, including an orbital bone fracture, a thumb injury, and a torn meniscus.
However, Embiid's talent and potential were evident from the start. Embiid, who was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, discovered basketball during his teenage years as a tall volleyball player.
0. “NBA MVP 2023: Sixers' Joel Embiid beats out Jokić for award” CBS News, 3 May. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/philadelphia/news/nba-mvp-2023-joel-embiid-sixers/
1. “Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo finishes third in 2022-23 MVP voting” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2 May. 2023, https://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/nba/bucks/2023/05/02/milwaukee-bucks-giannis-antetokounmpo-finishes-third-in-2022-23-nba-mvp-vote/70174032007/
2. “Joel Embiid Ranks Middle Of Pack In Accumulated MVP Votes Before First Win” RealGM.com, 2 May. 2023, https://basketball.realgm.com/wiretap/271420/Joel-Embiid-Ranks-Middle-Of-Pack-In-Accumulated-MVP-Votes-Before-First-Win
3. “Joel Embiid should be crowned NBA MVP this season ahead of Nikola Jokic, believes Allen Iverson” Daily Mail, 2 May. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/nba/article-12037851/Joel-Embiid-crowned-NBA-MVP-season-ahead-Nikola-Jokic-believes-Allen-Iverson.html
4. “MVPiid! Sixers Star Joel Embiid Wins 2023 MVP Award” NBC 10 Philadelphia, 3 May. 2023, https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/sixers/mvpiid-sixers-star-joel-embiid-wins-2023-mvp-award/3558187/
5. “Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid named NBA's 2022-23 MVP” CNN, 3 May. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/05/02/sport/joel-embiid-nba-mvp-2023-philadelphia-76rs/index.html
6. “Joel Embiid 2022-2023 NBA MVP Winner” HYPEBEAST, 3 May. 2023, https://hypebeast.com/2023/5/joel-embiid-2022-2023-kia-nba-most-valuable-player-mvp-winner
7. “Sixers’ Joel Embiid wins NBA MVP, beating out Nikola Jokić, Giannis Antetokounmpo” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 3 May. 2023, https://www.inquirer.com/sports/joel-embiid-nba-mvp-2023-winner-sixers-20230502.html