Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has made history as the first player from the franchise to win the NBA MVP award since Allen Iverson in 2001. The 29-year-old Embiid, a six-time All-Star, averaged 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 4.2 assists for the 76ers during the regular season, leading the team to a 54-28 record, the third-best in the league.
He won his second consecutive scoring title and was finally able to secure the MVP honor after finishing second to Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in the past two years. Embiid received 73 first-place votes, while Jokic had 15 and Giannis Antetokounmpo had 12. Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder rounded out the top five in voting.
Embiid will receive the Michael Jordan Trophy, named after the Chicago Bulls legend and introduced in December. This marks the fifth straight year that a foreign-born player has won the award, with Embiid being the first African-born MVP since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994. He is also the fifth MVP in 76ers history, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Iverson.
Embiid, who missed the Game 1 victory over the Boston Celtics due to a knee sprain, said the award was a result of a lot of hard work, perseverance, and dedication. The 76ers will be seeking their first trip to the Eastern Conference finals since 2001.