Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has been named Sports Illustrated's Rising Star of the Year.
SI recognizes the champions of tomorrow by spotlighting the best up-and-coming athletes of today—and no one has a brighter future than the second-year 76ers star. As the centerpiece of Philadelphia’s rebuilding plan, The Process has led the long-suffering franchise to a winning record so far this season and is already one of the league’s best players and most entertaining personalities.
The 23-year old from Cameroon has taken over the basketball world, posting 22.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game this season. Embiid was drafted No. 3 in the 2014 NBA Draft out of Kansas University, but his early career was mired by injuries. He missed his first two seasons with a broken bone in his foot, and he played just 31 games last season before he was shut down after tearing the meniscus in his left knee.
In October, the 76ers and Embiid agreed to a five-year, $148 million extension that could reportedly earn him as much as $178 million.
The seven-footer has also established himself as one of the most popular players in the NBA, frequently engaging with fans on social media and often poking fun at other players.
Embiid's jersey is currently the fifth-best selling uniform at Dick's Sporting Goods, behind only LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
SI's Sportsperson of the Year Awards will be telecast for the first time this year. The show, which takes place at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY on December 5, will be televised on NBCSN at 8pm ET on December 8 and on Univision Deportes at 8pm ET on December 9.