What does Embiid’s MVP award mean for him and the league?

Joel Embiid, NBA, Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Joel Embiid, NBA, Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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Joel Embiid Philadelphia 76ers, Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Joel Embiid Philadelphia 76ers, Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

What’s it mean for the league?

There are two things I’ve taken away after the award was announced. One is that we have been in a “golden era” of big men over the last half-decade, and two is the rise of international superstars. Let’s get into the first.

Since the mid-2010s when a young Anthony Davis was on the rise, Giannis Antetokounmpo was starting to become the player we know now. Meanwhile, Jokic and Embiid entered the league and quickly showed they will be forces to be reckoned with for the foreseeable future. We have seen a renaissance in gifted, talented big men who have pushed the boundaries from their predecessors (Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, etc) for future bigs to come after them.

There was a time in the league when talent was so dearth at the big man position that they even took the center spot off the All-Star ballot back in 2012. That’s how bad it was with big men such as Roy Hibbert being named All-Stars. Thanks to the rise of Davis, Giannis, Jokic, and Embiid in the last decade, the league has had four bigs that have brought back franchise big men you can build around.

That’s not even mentioning Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), Evan Mobley, (Cleveland Cavaliers), Domantas Sabonis (Sacramento Kings), Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies), and reigning Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero (Orlando Magic) to name a few.

Collectively, these players have either been All-Stars, garnered All-NBA selections, DPOY awards, MVPs, or All-Defensive honors. Younger ones such as Mobley and Banchero are just getting started on what should be Hall of Fame careers at the rate they’re working in.

As for what’s coming, the player most people (including myself) believe is the best prospect in NBA History is projected to be on top of his draft class this year. The “French Mamba” Victor Wembanyama is a 7-foot-4 guard with an 8-foot wingspan, who’s elite on both ends of the floor and is considered to be not just a franchise-changing, but a league-altering talent. So yeah, we’re in a boom of supremely talented big men.