BY JIM KELLY – Joel Embiid, as a player and a person, has become somewhat of a soap opera ever since being drafted third overall by the Sixers, and Philly just cannot seem to get enough of it. The storylines developing here are many, but I’ll try to parse them out for you.
The first thing about Embiid is his unbelievable raw ability. He was widely considered to be 1st overall pick material before he hurt his foot. In an interview he did with Dan Patrick, Embiid said he believed his injury would cause him to fall to the second round. But Hinkie did what Hinkie does, and took a chance on the 7’0” Cameroonian (Cameranian? Cameroonish? Camereese?) with the Sixers’ first pick in the draft. He has incredible potential, and certainly has the tools to become an absolute stud. Embiid’s wingspan is 7’5”. That fact alone is almost enough to make a case for his future superstardom, but his numbers at Kansas were what impressed me the most. Extrapolating his per-40 college stats for the NBA’s 48 minutes, he would have averaged 23.3 points, nearly 17 rebounds, and 5.4 blocks. He picks up double-doubles in his sleep, and even had a respectable passing game. This guy has serious potential. With Embiid roaming around the frontcourt next to Nerlens Noel, getting to the rim against the Sixers of the future could be an impossible task.
But perhaps the biggest honor that has been placed upon him by analysts is the comparisons that he garnered to NBA legends Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon. Embiid grew up watching the latter, and modeled his own game after the Rockets’ big all-timer. They have almost identical body types, and their styles of play also share many similarities. His doctor has even said that he will be making a full recovery, and that the issue with his foot should not be much of a problem in the future. In short, things are looking up for Embiid and the Sixers.
Embiid’s backstory is actually pretty amazing as well. He’s from the African nation of Cameroon, where soccer is king. The country has two indoor basketball courts. TWO indoor basketball courts. Oh yeah, and they’re both housed in the same building. I can think of seven off the top of my head that exist within a five-mile radius of my house. But Embiid, whose father is a military man, had envisioned his son playing volleyball for his career. Now that I think about it, Kansas head coach Bill Self should really be fired for not taking a team featuring Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid further than they did. I digress… Either way, Embiid’s story is awesome and totally the feel-good story that Disney should make, a la “Million Dollar Arm.” Only difference is that Embiid’s movie would be good.
BUT the thing that makes fans so enamored with Embiid is not his ability to defend, his awesome turnaround, or his incredible potential. The single thing that makes us love this man is his Twitter page. The guy is only 20 years old, so he will obviously have plenty of time to make a name for himself with Sixers fans. He’s off to a great start just a month into his professional career.
It all started with his “recruitment” of LeBron James. After being drafted in late June, Embiid took a little bit of a break from Twitter. He then came out with this absolute gem of a tweet in early July: “@KingJames hey bro hope you’re having a good day……want to join us in philly? Peace.” And with that, he became a folk hero. The Sixers Twittersphere absolutely exploded. He sent the city into a complete frenzy. THEN, after not hearing from LeBron, he tweeted not once, but twice, calling LeBron out. And to top it all off, a clearly emotionally hurt Embiid did the unthinkable and BLOCKED LEBRON JAMES. I love this man. But he’s not done yet.
Recently, Embiid has been spending a lot of time on Twitter. He’s tried to “recruit” Kim Kardashian to his DMs, only to later realize that she is still, in fact, married. (UPDATE: Now he’s diggin’ Rihanna) But possibly the most ridiculous thing Embiid does on Twitter is repeatedly (and by repeatedly I mean almost every other day) claim that he is taking a break from Twitter…only to tweet something just hours later, most frequently about how his “girls ain’t loyal.” He has also expressed his gratitude on Twitter for not being fined by the NBA yet, which is somewhat scary considering he has not been on the Sixers roster for a full month yet.
Joel, please..please..never change. Do not stop tweeting ever, we cannot get enough of it.
This has undoubtedly become the Summer of Joel in Philadelphia. #Johanna #EMB11D