Exclusive: Joel Embiid "may have been lobbying for the MVP," says NBA insider

MVP Candidates Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic
MVP candidates Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic

Ike Reese had a hot take on one of the most intriguing debates in the NBA, featuring Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid. The former Pro Bowl winner with the Philadelphia Eagles seems to have vouched for Embiid as the better player.

In a conversation with Reggie Roberts, host of The Ballfather podcast by Sportskeeda, Reese said that Embiid's personality as a young player in the league may have rubbed some people the wrong way. Reese thinks that factor has favored Jokic en route to his MVP award wins:

"I think his [Embiid's] personality rubs people the wrong way... He's shown some immaturity early in his career... What's the word? He almost, I don't want to say disrespectful, but when you look at [him], he did a lot of trash talking early in his career when he did that, that type of stuff.
"So I think it rubs some people the wrong way, particularly players, or even former players, right? Like even former players, then you had the couple years where he seemingly may have been lobbying for the MVP, as opposed to let this play do the talking for itself."

Joel Embiid has finished behind Nikola Jokic in MVP voting over the last two years. Both players have tremendously impacted their team's results, but the voters have favored Jokic. Jokic was more available than Embiid during that stretch. The Sixers' All-Star center has played 25 fewer games than "The Joker" across the last two seasons.

Meanwhile, as Reese mentioned, Embiid's personality may have also rubbed people the wrong way. The Sixers star has been vocal about not getting the respect and recognition and taking shots at the media and NBA fans for the same.


Jokic, meanwhile, hasn't paid too much heed to individual accolades. The Serbian rarely engages in trash talks with opposing NBA players, which puts him in a positive light among the media and fans.

Joel Embiid snubbed from All-Star Game starting spot

Joel Embiid remains deprived of the ideal recognition and respect he deserves around the NBA fraternity. Despite averaging a league-high 33.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists (career-high), Embiid got snubbed as an All-Star game starter.

Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo received more votes among Eastern Conference frontcourt voting than the Sixers star. Embiid is among the frontrunners to win the MVP award and has arguably been the best two-way player in the NBA this year.

Joel Embiid was 3rd (aka a starter) for both the player and media All Star votes. Fan vote doomed him.

It will be the first time Joel Embiid won't start an All-Star game in his career. In hindsight, Embiid may have to let his play do the talking moving forward. The All-Star starter snub presents the ideal opportunity for him to get the motivation to shut his critics down.

Embiid also has a solid opportunity to win this year's championship with the Philadelphia 76ers. They have put together one of their best rosters in recent years. The Sixers are currently second in the East with a 31-16 record.

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Edited by Arhaan Raje
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