Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award for the first time, the league announced on Tuesday (May 2).
Embiid was chosen over Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, to whom he lost the award in the past two seasons, and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who won back-to-back awards in 2019 and 2020.
The Cameroonian big man received 73 first-place votes from a panel of 100 broadcasters and journalists, marking the fifth consecutive win for an international player.
Second African player with title
The 29-year-old is only the second African player to become MVP after Nigerian-American Hakeem Olajuwon from the Houston Rockets in the 1993-94 season.
The third overall 2014 draft pick led the league in scoring for a second straight year, averaging a career-high 33.1 points per game on 54.8 per cent shooting from the field, 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists in addition to 66 three-pointers.
Embiid suffered a lateral collateral ligament sprain in his right knee during the third game of the first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets, forcing him to miss the final game of the 76ers’ 4-0 series win and their Monday win in the first game of the Eastern Conference semi-finals victory the Boston Celtics.
The MVP trophy was renamed this season after Michael Jordan, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.