Joel Embiid carried the Philadelphia 76ers through the entire season to a series of comfortable wins, ultimately leading them into the playoffs. Embiid finally won the MVP trophy after being the runner up in previous seasons. The big man, in his quest to be named MVP for this season, has defeated players like Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antietokounmpo.
Embiid has averaged 33,1 points, 4.2 assist, and 10,2 rebounds this season. This is a new career high for the Cameroonian. Despite Embiid being plagued by injuries throughout his season, he has managed to make a significant impact in the post-season. He was instrumental in the 76ers’ win over the Brooklyn Nets during the first round of the playoffs. The 76ers swept the Nets 4-0, a clean sweep.
Embiid led the 76ers to a comfortable #3 seed in Eastern Conference. The goal was not to win the MVP or make it to the playoffs, but rather, to win the championship. Embiid wants to be one of the few players in history who has won both the NBA Championship and the MVP award during the same season.
Philadelphia 76ers is currently struggling against the Boston Celtics after losing Game 2. Embiid will not let the loss of Game 2 – a horrible blowout loss by 34 points – affect his ambition. Joel Embiid is still aiming to win the NBA Championship with his team. The big man wants to be part of the elite group of players that have won the MVP award and the NBA Championship during the same season. This group is very small. Who are they exactly?
NBA players who won the MVP and championship in the same season
Bob Cousey- Boston Celtics, 1957
Bob Cousy became the first player in 1956-1957 to reach this milestone. In 10 seasons, he led the Boston Celtics team to nine NBA titles. Cousy displayed his impressive skills in the 1957 finals where he averaged 20.7% PPG and 9.1% APG. In the regular season, Cousy’s stats were impressive: 20.6 PPG and 7.6 APG.
Wilt chamberlain- Philadelphia Sixers, 1967
Wilt Chamberlain was named NBA MVP and won the NBA championship in 1967 while playing for the Philadelphia 76ers. He averaged 24.1 PPG, and 24.2 RPG in the 1967 regular-season. Wilt Chamberlain, who holds numerous records and awards, is considered to be one of the best centers in history.
Willis Reed – New York Knicks 1970
Willis Reed, a New York Knicks icon who led his team to a championship in the NBA, is regarded as a legend. Reed’s imposing presence on the court was key to the 1970 Finals game 7 victory despite his lack of stats.
Moses Malone – Philadelphia 76ers 1983
Moses Malone and Julius Erving won the NBA Championship as well as the MVP in the same season in 1983 with the Philadelphia 76ers. The duo was too strong for their opponents. Malone’s 25.8 PPG, 18.0 RPG in the 1983 Finals made him one of only 14 players who achieved this feat.
Magic Johnson – LA Lakers, 1987
Magic Johnson led the Lakers to the NBA title during his MVP season of 1986-87. His impressive skills and qualities as a leader helped him win the award. He averaged 23.9 points per game and 12.2 assists during the regular season and 26.2 points per game and 13.0 assists during the finals.
Hakeem Olajuwon – Houston Rockets 1994
Hakeem won the MVP in 1994 and led Houston to its first championship. While Jordan was still playing, he dominated the regular season with 27.3 PPG. He scored 26.9 PPG with 9.1 RPG in the Finals to earn Finals MVP. He is the fourth foreign-born player to win NBA MVP.
Shaquille O’Neal- LA Lakers, 2000
Shaquille’s MVP season in 2000 led to an NBA Championship, with Kobe Bryant leading the Lakers. Shaq deserves more MVP Awards but his one win in a championship season speaks volumes about his greatness.
Tim Duncan- San Antonio Spurs, 2003
Tim Duncan was a back-to-back winner of the MVP award in 2002 and 2003. He also helped the Spurs to win the NBA championship in 2003. He was a power forward with exceptional fundamentals. In 2003, his best season saw him average 23.3 PPGs and 12.9 RPGs to win the MVP Award.
Stephen Curry- Golden State Warriors, 2015
Stephen Curry was able to win both the NBA Championship and the MVP in 2015 with the Golden State Warriors. Curry’s performance was the highlight of this season, as he displayed his incredible ball-handling and shooting skills and averaged 23.8 points per game.
Kareem Abd Jabbar – Milwaukee Bucks and LA Lakers (1971-1980)
Kareem Abd-Jabbar won two MVP awards in 1971 and 1980. His scoring and rim defense made him an important franchise player for both the Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Lakers.
Larry Bird – Boston Celtics (1984,1986)
Larry Bird, a small forward who was in the top two of the NBA’s rankings, won the MVP award and the NBA championship twice during the same season. In the 1980s, he won three consecutive MVP Awards and led his team in winning two NBA titles. Bird was one of the best Celtics ever.
LeBron James- Miami Heat (2012, 2013)
LeBron is known to be a team leader, and he has been a candidate for the MVP award several times. James won two MVP Awards and NBA Titles while playing for the Miami Heat with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Bill Russell – Boston Celtics 1961, 1962, 1993, 1965
Bill Russell, who won the NBA championship and MVP four times in his career, is considered one of the greatest basketball players ever. Bill Russell won 11 championships, five MVP awards and was the defensive leader of the Boston Celtics.
Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls (1991-1992, 1996 and 1998)
Michael Jordan is the only player to have won both MVP and NBA Championship four times in a single season. Jordan was unmatched in his dominance with the Bulls, and won all four championships during his MVP seasons.
It will be interesting to see if Embiid is able to match this feat, and cement his place in NBA history. On Saturday, the Boston Celtics will play Game 3.