Joel Embiid Appreciates Prior Criticism From Charles Barkley, Shaq O'Neal: "They Saw What I Could Really Do."

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(via Philadelphia Inquirer)

(via Philadelphia Inquirer)

Joel Embiid has had a stellar season with the Philadelphia 76ers, and he is one of the frontrunners for the MVP award. Joel Embiid is currently averaging a career-high in PPG, and he's showing everyone just how dominant he can truly be. Joel Embiid has been criticized in the past for his performances, by people such as Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley. The two former big men have always voiced their opinions on how Embiid should be more dominant inside the paint, and it seems like Joel Embiid has taken those criticisms to heart.

In a recent interview with Shams Charania, Joel Embiid has stated that he is grateful for the criticism that the former greats have offered him, as he used it to fuel his own improvement. Even though there are probably other things that fueled Embiid's improvement other than criticism from former players, he does say that they always saw the type of player he could be.

When all those guys, Shaq, Charles [Barkley], they just kept talking about how dominant I could be, I understood. They saw the talent. They saw what I could really do. But I wasn’t using it. I wasn’t doing it. So when they were criticizing me, I just saw it as a way to kinda open my eyes and actually be better.

Instead of using it as criticism, I just took it to want to be better. So when I look back, when that was going on, I have nothing but love for Shaq. Because whatever they were saying, it just opened my eyes to actually realize that I can be that guy.

Joel Embiid has become a player that is clearly MVP caliber. While there have been stretches in the past where he has looked like the best center in the league, this year, he is playing like that on a consistent basis. Joel Embiid has a real chance to win the MVP award this season, and it seems as though criticism has helped him ascend to that level.