ANKARA – Philadelphia 76ers' six-time All-Star center Joel Embiid won the 2022-23 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player award on Tuesday, the NBA announced on its website.
Cameroon native Embiid, 29, beat finalists Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) in voting to win the prestigious award for the first time in his career.
Jokic finished runner-up in the MVP voting, and Antetokounmpo came in third.
"It's been a long time coming," Embiid said.
"A lot of hard work. I've been through a lot. I'm not just talking about basketball. I'm talking about my life. My story. Where I come from. How I got here and what it took for me to be here," he remarked in a live video posted on Twitter.
Embiid, a long-time 76ers player, averaged 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game this season.
He is the first Sixers player to win the regular season MVP award since Allen Iverson in 2001. Julius Erving in 1981, Moses Malone in 1983, and Wilt Chamberlain in 1966-1968 were the other 76ers who won the NBA's top individual award.
Meanwhile, Embiid from Yaounde became the second winner from Africa. The Sixers star joined Nigerian-US former center Hakeem Olajuwon, who won it as a Houston Rockets player in 1994.
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 76, who retired from the game in 1989, won the MVP award a record six times.
Banchero, Markkanen wins other NBA awards
Separately, the NBA announced the winners of the other individual awards, such as Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player, and Coach of the Year, last month.
Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero was named the 2022-23 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year after the 20-year-old averaged 20.0 points to have led all this season's rookies in points.
Utah Jazz's Finnish forward Lauri Markkanen won this season's Kia NBA Most Improved Player award. Markkanen, 25, tallied career highs in scoring – 25.6 points per game – up from 14.8 last season.
In addition, the NBA named Sacramento Kings coach Mike Brown the 2022-23 Coach of the Year.
In his first season at Sacramento, Brown led the Kings to their first playoff berth since 2006.
The Kings were eliminated by the 2022 champions Golden State Warriors by 4-3 on April 30 in the NBA Western Conference First Round of the playoffs.
Winners of 2022-23 NBA Awards:
Joel Embiid (NBA Most Valuable Player)
Paolo Banchero (NBA Rookie of the Year)
Lauri Markkanen (NBA Most Improved Player)
Mike Brown (Coach of the Year)
Malcolm Brogdon (NBA Sixth Man of the Year)
Jaren Jackson Jr. (NBA Defensive Player of the Year)
De'Aaron Fox (NBA Clutch Player of the Year)
Lakers leading West semis over Warriors in 2023 playoffs
The Los Angeles Lakers are on a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals over a 117-112 win against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.
Lakers' Anthony Davis displayed a stellar performance at San Francisco's Chase Center, scoring 30 points and taking 23 rebounds. Lakers' superstar LeBron James added 22 points.
Home team's Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 27 points, and his teammate Klay Thompson scored 25 points against the Lakers.
The next game will be on May 4 at the Warriors' court.
The team that takes four wins in the series will reach the conference finals.
The winning team of the Warriors vs. Lakers tie will face either the Denver Nuggets or Phoenix Suns in the next phase. Denver is leading the series 2-0.
In the East semis, the New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat series was tied 1-1 after the Knicks beat the Heat 111-105 at Madison Square Garden, New York on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the 76ers are on a 1-0 lead against the Boston Celtics in the other East semifinals. (Anadolu)