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#pounditSaturday, December 3, 2022

NBA website may have leaked big award news

Joel Embiid in a Sixers jersey

Jan 6, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) looks on during the second quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA may have accidentally leaked the winner of the MVP award in pretty awkward fashion Friday.

The league’s postgame news story on Friday’s playoff game between the 76ers and Heat may have outed Joel Embiid as the MVP winner. Users noticed that on the front page of the NBA’s playoff coverage that the blurb for the game cited Embiid as “Kia MVP,” though the award has not been given out yet. The text could be seen on both the league’s mobile app, as well as the front page of its playoff news site.

The original text remained up for at least 20 minutes before the “Kia MVP” phrasing was replaced with “Kia MVP finalist.”

The NBA usually does not publicly announce the MVP until around the time of the NBA Finals. This year’s announcement had been highly anticipated, with voting expected to be tight in a three-way race between Embiid, Nikola Jokic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Accidentally outing the winner this early on the league website would be a huge screw-up, especially when even other stars were weighing in with their picks.

To be clear, it is possible that there was simply a word missing, and the phrasing was intended to include the word “finalist” all along. Even if that’s the case, it’s a needless error that will probably start some unwanted speculation and conspiracy theories.

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