‘Wanted To Be Like Hakeem, MJ, and, Giannis’- Joel Embiid Reveals Major Individual Goal In His Career

Published 04/21/2021, 9:01 AM EDT
DETROIT – APRIL 06: Michael Jordan is announced as a member of the 2009 Hall-of-Fame class at halftime of the Michigan State Spartans and the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship game at Ford Field on April 6, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)


Joel Embiid is one of the front-runners for MVP this season. While this year’s MVP race has been hotly contested in a way we haven’t seen in years, Embiid believes he has a good chance. Despite missing time due to injury, Embiid is currently considered second only to Nikola Jokic in the MVP race.

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However, the motivation to win does not end with the MVP. There are other trophies that Embiid has in mind, including a unique double-victory feat we have seen only thrice before.

Embiid wants to replicate Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Giannis Antetokounmpo by winning both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. While he wants the MVP this year, he doesn’t mind losing the DPOY to Ben Simmons.

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“I’ve always wanted to be like Hakeem and MJ, or Giannis last year to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. But I have a lot of years in the league, and at some point, that is something I wanna do. But when it comes to it, I hope he (Ben) wins it.”

Michael Jordan achieved this feat in the 1987-88 season for the Chicago Bulls. Hakeem Olajuwon did this in 1993-94 for the Houston Rockets. Giannis Antetokounmpo achieved this feat just last year, winning both the trophies for the 2019-20 season.

Joel Embiid: Can he join this historic trio?

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Feb 17, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) dribbles the ball against the Houston Rockets during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid has all the tools for a player to win both MVP and DPOY. While this is his best season in the NBA to date, there is still room to grow for Embiid. He is going deep into the MVP race with Nikola Jokic, but isn’t considered atop the DPOY list for this year. Players like teammate Simmons, Rudy Gobert, and others are considered better favored for the award.

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However, there is no reason to write off Embiid from achieving this over the course of his career. He is an imposing post-presence who has shown the footwork necessary to defend along the perimeter as well. He has the skill-set required to pull this off; it is just a matter of if he will be able to.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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