For the second straight season, Joel Embiid has put together a monstrous season where he made a strong case for the best player in the NBA. He led the NBA in scoring at 30.6 points per game while adding 11.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.5 blocks. The 76ers‘ superstar put the team on his back amid the Ben Simmons drama and played a career-high 68 games. Embiid led the 76ers to a 51-31 regular-season record, and the team finished tied for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
Despite the standout season, Embiid has failed to be recognized for his tremendous effort. The NBA, and its flawed voting system, will give the MVP award to Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets for the second-straight season. Despite coming in second in the voting, Embiid will find himself on the All-NBA second-team once again due to the positional limitations.
In an effort to appreciate the superstar for his impressive play and its positive impact on the community, the Philadelphia City Council voted the 76ers’ star their own MVP. While it may not be the MVP he was fighting for, Embiid will carry the title of Most Valuable Philadelphian.
The impact that Embiid has had in the city has gone far beyond his on-court play. The Kansas product has been involved in a number of charity events, including donating $100,000 to combat homelessness, half a million to Covid relief efforts, and offering to pay the salary of 76ers employees who were set to be laid off during the pandemic. He may not always make the news that other players do for these types of events and donations, but Embiid has been an active member of the Philadelphia community since being drafted in 2014.
This is a great show of appreciation from the community but surely not the award Embiid had his eye on. It is clear he has been frustrated with the lack of recognition for his deserving on-court play, and Embiid carries the chip on his shoulder mentality that endears athletes to Philadelphia fans. This does not make the runner-up campaign or failed playoff results easier to swallow- but Joel Embiid sure does get being a Philly athlete.