The NBA announced that Philadelphia 76ers six-time All-Star center Joel Embiid has been named the 2022-23 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player. Embiid is the fifth 76er ever to capture league MVP honors, joining Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Allen Iverson, and Moses Malone. The Cameroon native is the seventh international player to be named MVP since the award’s inception.
Embiid led the NBA in scoring for the second consecutive season, averaging 33.1 points per game, joining Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain as the only 76ers ever to post an average of 33-plus points in a season. He is the first NBA player to win consecutive scoring titles since teammate James Harden (three straight, 2017-20) and the first 76er to do so since Hall of Famer Allen Iverson (2000-02).
Embiid led the 76ers to a 54-28 regular season, the team’s best since 2000-01. The third seed in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, Philadelphia is in the midst of an Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Boston Celtics.
“I’ve watched Joel grow and evolve into one of the greatest players in 76ers franchise history over the last nine years. Today is a proud day for our organization as Joel becomes the fifth Sixer ever to capture League MVP honors,” Managing Partner Josh Harris said. “Joel overcame adversity at the start of his career with a combination of perseverance and grit, and now, his intense work ethic has pushed him into the NBA history books. It’s been a joy to watch him dedicate himself to the team and the city of Philadelphia. Congratulations to Joel, our fans, and our city on an honor we will always remember.”
“We have all witnessed the greatness of Joel Embiid during his entire career as a 76er and I am thrilled to see his exceptional hard work and dedication recognized by being named NBA MVP,” 76ers Co-Managing Partner David Blitzer said. “Joel is a once-in-a-lifetime talent whose impact extends far beyond the court. When you think of the greatest players to ever wear a 76ers uniform, your mind naturally goes to legends like Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson. Tonight, Joel has cemented his place on that special list and we are all excited to see him continue to add to his legacy.”
This season also saw Embiid add in 10.2 rebounds on a career-high 54.8% shooting from the floor. He’s the third player in NBA history to average at least 33 points and 10 rebounds on 54% shooting from the floor, joining Chamberlain (1965-66 MVP) and fellow Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1971-72 MVP).
Defensively, Embiid posted 1.7 blocks (seventh in the NBA) and 1.0 steals per outing. He and 2022-23 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr. were the only two players in the league this season to average at least 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steals.
“Let me start by saying I am absolutely thrilled for Joel on winning the MVP award. He is the real deal and deserves every bit of recognition that comes his way. He embodies everything that the honor stands for. His drive to improve is unmatched, and like the saying ‘a dream doesn’t become reality through magic, it takes hard work’, he’s put in the work. What’s most impressive is the why. He puts in the work because he wants to be a winner,” said 76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers. “This MVP award is part of that journey. While this may be an individual award, in many ways it’s also a team award. Joel’s teammates have been unbelievable in contributing to his success. I couldn’t be prouder of all of them. It takes a village. From our staff, our coaches, our players and the entire organization, congratulations to the big fella.”
“I’ve always believed that greatness emerges when talent meets relentless dedication. Joel’s season was legendary, and the MVP award is the latest milestone of his decorated career,” President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey said. “His impact on both sides of the ball places him in rarified air among all-time greats such as Hakeem, Kareem and Wilt. It has been a privilege to watch Joel over the last three seasons and I know this won’t be his last accomplishment as we continue to strive toward our ultimate goal of winning an NBA championship.”
A deeper dive into Joel Embiid’s Most Valuable Moments from 2022-23:
- Posted a career-high 59 points to go along with 11 rebounds, eight assists and a career-high-tying seven blocks against the Jazz on Nov. 13. It was the first stat line of its kind in NBA history.
- On Feb. 15, became the fastest 76er ever to reach 10,000 career points.
- During a stretch from March 2-20, set a franchise record with 10 straight 30-point games.
- Recorded an Eastern Conference-best 44 games with at least 30 points, which were the most by a 76er since the 2005-06 season.
- Tallied 50-plus points on three occasions, joining Chamberlain and Iverson as the only 76ers ever with at least three such games in a season.
Over the course of the season, Embiid earned three Eastern Conference Player of the Month awards (December, January and March/April), as well as four Eastern Conference Player of the Week nods. His seven career Player of the Month honors are a franchise record.