The 76ers’ Joel Embiid calls the MVP nomination “validation,” but insists “winning the championship will be much better,” as this year’s All-NBA teams in the league announce
- Embiid was the first Philadelphia 76er to win the MVP award since Allen Iverson
- He was expected to be named a first-team All-NBA when the teams went out on Wednesday
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Joel Embiid finally said it: winning the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award has been a dream since he started playing basketball late.
“I know I’ve always said I don’t care, but it was just for you guys to leave me alone,” the 76ers center said Wednesday, a day after being voted its first MVP after two second-place finishes . “I care how everything gets validated, all the work you put into it. And to sit here is just great.’
Born in Cameroon and only getting into the sport at age 15, Embiid was the 76ers’ reward for their path to the No. 3 draft in 2014.
But he missed two full seasons with foot injuries, forcing Philadelphia fans to wait as general manager Sam Hinkie insisted they “trust the process.”
His recent MVP win made him the first 76er to win the award since Hall of Famer Allen Iverson earned the trophy in 2001.
MVP winner Joel Embiid called winning the award “validation” but is targeting an NBA title
Embiid averaged 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds this year and set an all-time high with 4.2 assists this year
He was also expected to be named first-team All-NBA when the teams were officially named
Embiid, 29, averaged 33.1 points to win his second straight scoring title, averaged 10.2 rebounds and set an all-time high with 4.2 assists per game.
He received 73 of 100 first place votes for MVP, with two-time winner Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets second and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks third.
While acknowledging that the MVP was important to him, Embiid said he is still focused on his primary goal of winning an NBA title.
Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo completed the All-NBA first-team frontcourt
2022-23 All-NBA teams
1st team: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luka Doncic, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo
2nd Team: Stephen Curry, Donovan Mitchell, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Jokic, Jaylen Brown
3rd Team: Damian Lillard, De’Aaron Fox, LeBron James, Julius Randle, Domantas Sabonis
The Sixers have not made the second round of the playoffs since reaching the NBA Finals in 2001.
“I don’t want to win this award because it’s just the MVP. I want to win it because it means a lot to me (because) I’ve been through a lot, and that’s just confirmation of that. Everything — the sacrifices, everything you went through — it pays off somehow,” he said. “Obviously winning the championship is going much better.
“We have that chance now. But I’m just competitive. I want it all. I want to win everything I can get my hands on. And everyone around me knows that.
The NBA also named its three All-NBA teams on Wednesday, and as expected, Embiid was one of the players named to the first team.
Embiid’s first team included Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo as forward, and Dallas’ Luka Doncic and Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as guard.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic were the guards on the All-NBA first team
The second team, along with Jokic, included Jimmy Butler of Miami and Jaylen Brown of Boston at forward, and Stephen Curry of Golden State and Donovan Mitchell of Cleveland at guard.
James has been selected 13 times in the first team, three times in the second team and now three times in the third team. Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were all selected 15 times, tied for second in NBA history.
Antetokounmpo was the only unanimous first-team selection this season. Tatum received 92 votes from the first team, Embiid received 87, Gilgeous-Alexander received 63 and Doncic received 60.
Gilgeous-Alexander, Mitchell, Brown, Sabonis and Fox all made All-NBA for the first time. Embiid was in the first team for the first time, while Butler made his first second team appearance after making four appearances in the third team.