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May 19, 2022

Philadelphia City Council passes resolution naming Sixers' Joel Embiid MVP

The Sixers ended their season in embarrassing fashion last week, stringing back-to-back uninspired efforts together to end their season in Round 2. Philadelphia City Council may have just managed to up the ante on how humiliating the season's finish was.

On Thursday morning, council members voted to pass a resolution naming Sixers center Joel Embiid the MVP, albeit a different title than the one he was actually fighting for, per the Inquirer's Anna Orso:

On the one hand, you could view this as a thoughtful piece of recognition for one of the most well-loved people in the city, a guy who took the floor for his team in spite of multiple gruesome injuries and built-in excuses to park his butt on the bench. Embiid has also lived up to the namesake of this honor away from the floor —  Embiid pledged to donate half of a million dollars to COVID-19 relief efforts in early April of 2020, pledged to donate All-Star Game winnings to Philadelphia-area homeless shelters in 2021, and before the Sixers reversed course on potential salary reduction at the start of the pandemic, the center committed to aiding any team employees who would have suffered financial hardship as a result of that plan.

On the other hand, this is, and forgive me for all the editorializing being done moving forward, just absolute loser behavior.

Joel Embiid had an absolutely terrific season, one I thought could (and even should) have been rewarded with the NBA's MVP award, but he lost out on the honor primarily because this was a season with several all-time great individual efforts, whether you choose to measure that using basic counting stats, advanced metrics, or simple eye test and feel for the game. He ended up losing out on the award to Nikola Jokic, and the voting was not that close in the end, with Jokic sitting comfortably in first place.

It was one thing for a bunch of teenagers and 20-somethings with nothing better to do (believe me, I've been there) to sit on social media and get into inane arguments with @JokicGOAT or @PrimeJokerSZN on Twitter. Getting into stupid debates with strangers about awards voting is half of why social media exists, an extension of the storied history of bar arguments, yelling in barbershops, and trash-talking at sporting events that continues to live on to this day. It's a very different thing for adult politicians to look this corny in an attempt to pander to locals. 

Compared to some of the many everyday problems people deal with around the city — CTRL+F and search for "potholes" in the replies and quotes of that tweet for an example — it's a distinction that ultimately took very little time to discuss, zero funding to hand out, and is mostly just dunking material for those of us working through the offseason. But the optics are just horrible, locals seeing this and being able to come to the conclusion that their elected officials are wasting time on frivolous nonsense rather than working on things to try to help. Many of them are sports fans just like anyone else, but come on.

If you're going to pander, at least pander in a way that might get a rise out of people. Pass a resolution for the Sixers to trade for a defensive-minded forward or something. Otherwise, the only thing that comes to mind is this Spongebob scene:

Good grief.

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