Joel Embiid feels his current run of form, including a 22-point display in the NBA All-Star Game, has proven he is the best player in the world.
Big man Embiid is often maligned despite averaging 23.3 points and 12 rebounds per game this season, with his highly-talented Philadelphia 76ers an underwhelming fifth in the Eastern Conference.
But the 25-year-old has had a big hand in Sixers wins either side of the All-Star break.
Embiid tallied 26 points and nine rebounds as he starred alongside Ben Simmons in a defeat of the Los Angeles Clippers, while a brilliant 39-point, 16-rebound return lifted Philadelphia to an overtime victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, extending their winning run to four games.
In between those two performances, Embiid also managed 22 points and 10 rebounds for Team Giannis as he took on the best the Western Conference had to offer.
It was this display in the All-Star Game that Embiid felt secured his place as the league’s elite performer.
“The All-Star game was fun, being there in the fourth quarter doing my thing at the end of the game,” he said after seeing off the Nets, who will miss Kyrie Irving for the remainder of the season.
“The game against the Clippers was a good starting spot, but the All-Star game was just proving that I’m here, I belong, being the best player in the world.
“And I just intend to keep coming out every single night and playing hard, just going out and trying to win a championship.”
Embiid will have the opportunity to back up his claim on Saturday when the Sixers take on conference leaders the Milwaukee Bucks and All-Star captain Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is on course for a second straight MVP award.
“We beat them pretty bad in the first matchup [121-109 in December], they got us the last one [112-101 earlier this month],” Embiid said. “So, it’s on us to go out there and try to beat them again.”