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Sixers’ Joel Embiid wins 2023 NBA MVP award

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BOSTON — Joel Embiid is on the cusp of his career this season, having been named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player on Tuesday.

The 76ers star became the first Philadelphia player since 2001 Hall of Famer Allen Iverson and the fifth MVP in franchise history. Embiid won easily, scoring 915 points from the media and his 73 first place votes. He was the defending MVP twice, and Denver his Nuggets center Nikola Jokic ranked him second with 674 points and his 15 first-place votes. Milwaukee Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was third with 606 points and 12 first-place votes.

» Read more: Joel Embiid named Eastern Conference Player of the Month to wrap up 2022-23 season

“I don’t know where to start,” Embiid told TNT host Ernie Johnson Jr. after the winner was announced on the television show. nba tips show. “Look, it’s been a while. You know, a lot of hard work. I’ve been through a lot.

“I’m not just talking about basketball. I’m talking about everything in life, you know my story. I know what it took to be in. So it feels good. I don’t know what to say.

Originally from Cameroon, Embiid came to the United States to play basketball when he was 16.

Once in the NBA, Embiid missed the first two seasons due to surgery on both feet. He then underwent season-ending surgery to repair a meniscus injury in his left knee during his 2016-17 season. Embiid suffered various other injuries. He also missed the start of the Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Boston Celtics with a sprained right knee.

However, Embiid overcame injuries to turn the 2022-23 season into his best yet.

He won his second consecutive scoring title, averaging 33.1 points, and was eighth in rebounding (10.2) and seventh in blocks (1.7). He has also been named Eastern Conference Player of the Month three times.

“He’s the best player in the league!” PJ Tucker said before repeating for emphasis. “I think it’s always an argument [on who should have won]but I don’t think there was an argument all year long.

“Complete conquest all year round”

The honor comes after Embiid finished as MVP runner-up in 2021 and 2022.

The Sixers believed he should have won last season. At that time, Embiid (his 30.6 points in 2021-22) not only became the first center since Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal (his 29.7 points in 1999-2000) to win a scoring title, but also averaged He was also the first center to surpass 30 points. Since Moses Malone (in 1981-82 he was 31.1).

However, Jokic became the first player in league history to receive the award after scoring 2,000 points (2,004), 1,000 rebounds (1,019) and 500 assists (584) in a single season.

Sixers center Joel Embiid reacts after Tobias Harris’ 3-point basket against the Brooklyn Nets in Game 2 of Round 1 of the playoff series..read moreYong Kim / Staff Photographer

The Nuggets center’s opposition to acquiring Embiid in 2021 was hard to argue with because the game was played. Jokic played every game of the season, down to 72 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Embiid missed his 21.

But now, Embiid has stepped over the hump and joined Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Irving, Malone and Iverson as the Sixers’ sole winners. It’s a testament to how far he’s come since I hired him as my coach.

Prior to that, Embiid was an elite athlete who often got out of shape. But having coached several Hall of Famers, including Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Tracy McGrady, Rivers knows that achieving greatness requires a work ethic and his leadership skills. increase.

As such, Rivers was candid with Embiid, emphasizing a change in the lone wolf’s approach. He asked Embiid to be a better player and teammate. Coaches have also found ways to make Embiid more impactful on the court, placing him at the free-throw line and facing baskets that make it harder for teams to double-team him.

» Read more: Sixers’ Joel Embiid, dominating both ends of the court, should dethrone Nikola Jokic as MVP

“I think it was because he was conditioning last year and realized how serious he had to be in this game,” Rivers said. “How serious it is, not just as a player, but even the little things you do to affect the whole team.

“I think he was in better shape this year. He was doing more with his teammates and leading. He is still young and continues to grow before our eyes. That’s cool.”

In the process, the 29-year-old became the sixth foreign player to win the award, joining Jokić (Serbia), Antetokounmpo (Greece), Dirk Nowitzki (Germany), Steve Nash (Canada) and Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria). was awarded. Foreigner MVP was also awarded for 3 consecutive years. Antetokounmpo received the award for the 2018-19 season and his 2019-20 season.

It’s not surprising that Embiid prevented Jokic from becoming just the fourth player to win three consecutive MVP awards.

“Nobody could keep him all year,” Tucker said of Embiid. “He’s destroying double and triple teams on the team, whatever they throw at him. Nobody could stop him and he still has a really successful season finishing third in the East.

“To be able to double-team, triple-team, and score 50s, 30s, 40s every night, it’s just amazing.”

Sixers center Joel Embiid blocked Brooklyn Nets forward Mychal Bridges’ layup attempt in Game 1 of the first-round series..read moreYong Kim / Staff Photographer

Embiid posted a career-high 59 points and seven blocks against the Utah Jazz in November. He added 53-point and 52-point games during the season. Embiid also scored 31 times in his 30s and 10 times in his 40s.

“For me, it’s not even about scoring,” Paul Reed said. It’s like fighting, they’re aggressive. [while] attacking man.

“A guy like me, I’m big. I respect stuff like that.”

» Read more: Overcoming Joel Embiid’s absence, Sixers win Game 1 119-115, closing in on James Harden’s 45 points

But with Embiid out of the playoffs, will people respect Embiid’s MVP award?

The seventh-year veteran with a long history of injuries sprained the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee in Game 3 of the Sixers’ first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets on April 20.

“There’s no way to win MVP because there’s a damper,” Rivers said of the awards being announced while Embiid was injured. “[It is] amazing results. Obviously you’d love to see him do it and play, but they chose a date to give him the award, we won’t.

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