Joel Embiid officially locked up the NBA scoring title on Sunday afternoon.
The Philadelphia 76ers star will officially lead the league in scoring this season for the first time in his career. He enters Sunday’s regular season finale averaging a career high 30.6 points per game.
Embiid was locked in a battle with Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo for the title. Antetokounmpo averaged 29.9 points per game this season, though he is sitting out their final game of the season on Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers with right knee soreness. That officially hands Embiid the title, regardless of what he does against the Detroit Pistons.
Embiid, who was born in Cameroon, is now the first international player to win the NBA scoring title. He’s also the first center to take home the award since Shaquille O’Neal did so in the 1999-2000 season, and the first center to average more than 30 points per game since Moses Malone did in 1982.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was in the running too, as he averaged 30.3 points per game this season. He was ineligible to win, however, as he didn’t play in the required 58 games it takes to be considered for the award. James played in just 56 games.
Embiid has been phenomenal for the 76ers this season, especially over the last month. He’s averaged 34.9 points and 13.8 rebounds in their last 10 games, and put up 41 points with 20 rebounds in Saturday’s win over the Indiana Pacers. He’s dropped at least 40 points in three of their last four games, too.
Naturally, that’s put him in the running for the league MVP award. Though it’s unclear who will earn those honors — both Antetokounmpo and Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic are considered favorites, too — Embiid certainly thinks he’s done enough to take that trophy home, too.
“If it happens, great,” Embiid said earlier this month of the award. “If it doesn’t, I don’t know what I have to do. I’ll feel like they hate me. I feel like the standard for guys in Philly or for me is different than everyone else.”