Embiid, NBA MVP

Finally the dream of Joel Embiid. You can now proudly wear the MVP trophy of the regular season of the NBA, renamed as Michael Jordan Trophy the last December. Philadelphia 76ers center he takes it after several years staying close, the last two being the second most voted behind another center, Nikola Jokic. The Serbian, along with Giannis Antetokounmpo, completed the trio of finalists this year.

Embiid thus becomes the third player in history born on African soil to do so. Hakeem Olajuwon already took it (Lagos, Nigeria) in 1994, but by then he was a US citizen and is considered for all purposes as a player from that country. Also Steve Nash (Johannesburg, South Africa) in 2005 and 2006, but at the age of two he moved with his parents to Canada, a nationality that he holds together with the British, due to the origin of his father. Thus, Embiid (Yaoundé, Cameroon), who has dual nationality and is considering playing for the French national team, is de facto the first African to receive this enormous recognition. He is surely the most important individual in the world of basketball.

The 29-year-old Cameroonian is the fifth player to take the MVP wearing the Sixers jersey. The last one had been Allen Iverson in 2001. Before him it was made by Moses Malone (1983), Julius Erving (1981) and, on three occasions, Wilt Chamberlain (1966, 67 and 68). This year he has averaged 33.1 points (his career high), 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.7 blocks and 54.8% shooting from the field (also his career high). ).

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For the fifth year in a row, the award goes to a non-US player. Since Antetokounmpo won it in 2019, the MVPs have been distributed as follows: two for the Greek, two for Jokic and this year for Embiid. The Serbian sounded strong for much of the season as a favorite and his numbers (it has been his best year in assists and shots from the field) could have perfectly given him his third consecutive MVP. But the fact that no player since Larry Bird has won it three years in a row and a spectacular second half of the Cameroonian season have made the voters, 125 journalists from the US and Canada, prefer Embiid’s candidacy.

The center will receive his trophy in the third game of the Eastern semifinals against the Celtics, which will be played in the Spanish early morning from Friday to Saturday (01:30). It will be the first match of the series to be played at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. 21,000 Sixers fans will pack the stands and pay homage to his star, who has missed his team’s last two games with a sprained right knee. The last of the first round against the Nets, on April 22, and the first of the semis in Boston, on Monday. Still It remains to be seen if he will be able to celebrate it dressed in a short tomorrow night, in the second game against the Celtics.

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