Sixers’ Joel Embiid says MVP is ‘a validation of everything’

Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers superstar, has won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award, receiving 73 out of 100 first-place votes. Embiid, who started playing basketball in Cameroon at the age of 15, said the probability of someone like him winning the award was “probably negative zero,” but that it’s proof that improbable doesn’t mean impossible. Embiid has said winning the award is part of his desire to accomplish everything he can in the sport, including winning championships.

After Embiid’s late introduction to basketball and then arriving in the United States, he starred at Kansas before missing the first two years of his NBA career with foot injuries. Embiid has since blossomed into a dominant two-way center and one of the most skilled players in the league. He has also credited Luc Mbah a Moute, a former NBA player from Cameroon and a close friend, for helping him reach this point.

Embiid wants to be a role model and inspire his African people to succeed. He said that for them to achieve something, they have to work twice as hard as everybody else, but that they can do it. Embiid credits his teammates, whom he asked to be with him when it was announced he had won the award, for helping him achieve this goal. He specifically credited James Harden, who hugged him and presented him with a gold Rolex watch that had “MVP 23” inscribed on the back.

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