Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid is undoubtedly an MVP candidate on the court. As he's averaging a career-high of 30 points-per-game this season while draining over 50-percent of his shots from the field and 40-percent of his shots from three, his placement as the league's frontrunner for the award is undeniable.
However, Embiid has been just as valuable to the city of Philadelphia off the court as he has been on the court. Last season as the NBA entered the COVID-19 hiatus, Embiid searched for ways to put his money to good use during tough times.
Not only did the veteran center take the initiative and offer to step up and help pay potential furloughed Sixers employees during the trying times, which played a part in having the team's Managing Group change course, but Embiid also teamed up with the organization to donate seven-figures Penn Medicine for critical support of health care workers fighting COVID-19.
“During this pandemic, many doctors and nurses are working like soldiers on the front lines of a war, and they need to be provided with as much armor as possible in this battle,” Embiid said back in April. “COVID-19 antibody testing can help Philadelphia health care workers at this critical time, and we need to do everything possible to help those heroes who are putting their lives at risk to help us.”
This season, the giving hasn't stopped for Embiid. Although he's been focusing on his MVP campaign lately, the big man has decided to give back to the Philadelphia community as he gears up for his fourth-straight All-Star appearance on Sunday.
According to the Sixers, Embiid has decided to donate his $100,000 in winnings on All-Star weekend to three separate homeless shelters in the Philadelphia area to provide meals, clothing, COVID-19 treatment, health care, summer camp, and essential care for teens.
“So many have fallen on such hard times during the pandemic,” Embiid said. “I felt it was important to provide more support for individuals and families struggling with homelessness and food insecurity. I’m continually grateful for all of the support that Philadelphia and the fans have given me not just around All-Star but all my years in the league. I will continue to help in any way I can.”
Hopefully, Embiid's decision to pledge his earnings to a local cause becomes a trend within the NBA this season. So far, Embiid's the first to donate his earnings during All-Star weekend publicly. Perhaps, he won't be the last.