After waging war at the Wells Fargo Center, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokić had no problem showing their mutual respect for each other moments after facing off Tuesday night.
Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers bested Jokić’s Denver Nuggets, 126–121, in a hard-fought battle headlined by the NBA’s last two MVPs. Shortly after the final buzzer, the star big men met on the floor for a postgame chat, where reigning MVP Embiid whispered a message into Jokić’s ear.
When asked what was said during the exchange, Embiid revealed he told Jokić that he’s not only a great player but, in fact, the best player in the NBA.
“I just told him he’s the best player in the league,” Embiid told TNT’s Allie LaForce. “He won a championship, that’s the best team in the league and he’s the Finals MVP. So, I was just telling him keep going and see you in two weeks and keep doing your thing. And that’s why you’re the best in the league.”
“I just told him he’s the best player in the league.” 👀
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 17, 2024
While some may contest Embiid’s modest postgame comments, it’s hard to argue both perennial MVP contenders don’t deserve strong consideration for the “best player.” Especially after Tuesday’s game, where Embiid poured in 41 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists while Jokić added 25 points and 19 rebounds.
Nevertheless, with all eyes on the dynamic centers, Embiid and Jokić will likely look to put on another show and separate themselves in the conversation when the teams meet again on Jan. 27 in Denver.