In his first year of play, the Cameroonian native gave us a glimpse of what he's capable of: Throughout 31 games, Embiid averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 2.1 assists--numbers that immediately made him one of the elite centers of the NBA. (All of this despite being on an official restriction, limiting him to play in about half the minutes of any single game.)
Unfortunately, Embiid suffered a knee injury earlier in the year that sidelined him for the rest of the season. Still, no other rookie has come close to matching his statistics, so many believed he'd still win the NBA's coveted "Rookie of the Year" award.
But recently, another rookie by the name of Dario Saric (who happens to be one of Embiid's teammates on the 76ers), has been playing exceptional basketball. After scoring a career-high 29 points in a win against the L.A. Lakers, Saric was interviewed on live television.
Along came Embiid, interrupting the interview to point at Saric and exclaim:
"He's the Rookie of the Year. That's the guy!"
That's right, Embiid endorsed a teammate for an award that many still feel he is most deserving of.
In a "me-first" world where self-promotion and braggadocio are the norm, it's a true breath of fresh air to find a young man singing praises to a fellow player, instead of to himself.
So, let's give credit where it's due:
Yes, Joel Embiid is definitely a fantastic basketball player.
But he's an even better teammate.