Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid tells TMZ he has MVP aspirations

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports)
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports) /

Ever the showman, Philadelphia 76ers superstar center Joel Embiid has huge aspirations after being named the cover star of NBA Live 19.

Another day, another Joel Embiid headline, isn’t being a Philadelphia 76ers fan great?

After being honored at the 2018 NBA Awards with the prestigious cover of NBA Live 19, Philly’s new favorite basketball video game, TMZ caught up with everyone’s favorite superstars center and asked him what was next in his still blossoming NBA career.

JoJo being JoJo, he did not disappoint.

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In an interview that I’m sure will be referenced for the next four-to-six months, Embiid told the reporter that his next goal was simple: win league MVP.

Say what you will about the loftiness of this goal, but at this point, is it really that far-fetched of a declaration?

In only his second year in the league, Embiid has already risen up from a should have been Rookie of the Year winner to a starter on the Eastern Conference All-Star team. This, when coupled with his very impressive stats sheet stuffage, spot on the NBA’s Second Team All-Defensive squad, and position as a finalist for the league’s defensive MVP award, makes Embiid a prime candidate to continue to get better and better. And at the tender age of 24, his prime is still two-to-three years away.

Boy, can you imagine how good he’ll be then?

Paired with one of the best passers in the league in 6-foot-10 2018 Rookie of the Year award winner Ben Simmons, and the opportunity to add even more secondary ball-handlers when free agency opens up, Embiid should have no shortage of well-placed dimes while perched under the basket ready to slam home two points.

But what makes Embiid an even greater candidate for MVP, outside of his larger-than-life off the court persona, has to be his versatility.

Far from a throwback player like former teammate Jahlil Okafor, Embiid can score the ball from all three levels of the court, and defend players other than just traditional centers. Often perching himself at the top of the key when the team goes on offense, Embiid’s ability to make money moves from all over the court forces opposing coaches to guard him like a power forward, while possessing the unique combination of power, strength, and ingenuity to be virtually unguardable one-on-one in the low post.

Though some may call these the skills of a bygone era, pointing to how the league is getting smaller, faster and more three focused, Embiid’s slowly bringing the big man back to basketball, as highlighted by the five big men selected in the first seven picks of the 2018 NBA Draft.

Finding 40 percent three-point shooters may be rare, but finding a big man like Embiid is almost unprecedented.

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So even though some may laugh at it now, don’t be shocked when Embiid’s giving his MVP acceptance speech, just like the last two NBA Live cover stars before him.