James Harden just gave Joel Embid a gift befitting MVP status.
On Tuesday, Philadephia 76ers center Embiid won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award for the 2022-23 season. To celebrate, Embiid’s close teammate and former MVP James Harden surprised the seven-foot-two athlete with his first Rolex, prompting him to excitedly ask “How do you wear watches?”
Embiid and all his teammates awaited the broadcast announcement in a hotel conference room this week, where Harden was the first to embrace the new winner as he held his head in disbelief. Then Harden—the 2018 NBA MVP—handed Embiid a $41,500 Rolex Day-Date 40 in Everrose gold just seconds after his MVP press conference. The 40mm watch is crafted from 18-karat Everose gold with a gorgeous sunburst dial, fluted bezel, and president bracelet. It also features a custom “2023 MVP” engraving on its caseback. Given Embiid’s dominant streak all season long, some may say he’s more than deserving of his new MVP title, as well as Harden’s fashionable gift that he will most likely never forget.
“I don’t even know where to start,” Embiid told an interviewer on Inside the NBA after winning his award. “It’s been a long time coming, a lot of hard work. I’ve been through a lot, and I’m not just talking about basketball… it feels good.” Despite what seemed like a tight race throughout most of the season, Embiid garnered 73 of the 100 first-place votes (915 total) for the title, ESPN claims. The number set him ahead of Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (674 votes), and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (606 votes) for the high honor.
Nicknamed “The Process,” Embiid has reportedly campaigned for the MVP trophy for years. Hailing all the way from Yaoundé, Cameroon, he missed his first two full seasons due to injuries before becoming a perennial All-Star and All-NBA player. He leads the NBA in scoring for a second straight season, averaging career highs of 33.1 points and 54.8 percent shooting. His 2022-23 season highlights also include 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game. His MVP win marks the third straight season a center has won the award.
Embiid told his teammates they have “five minutes to celebrate” his victory before getting in the zone for Game 2 of their second playoff series against the Celtics. “We got our five minutes in!” 76ers’s Tyrese Maxey told reporters. “He deserved to let those tears go, let that emotion go.” In doing so, Embiid shared a few remarks on Harden as well. “He’s the best playmaker I’ve ever played with and he’s the best playmaker in probably the NBA,” he said. “He was just extremely happy for me, just like (all of the Sixers) were, and that meant a lot for me.”