Joel Embiid: Three fun things to know
Joel Embiid is the reason the Sixers may have a chance at getting back to the NBA Finals for the first time in more than two decades.
Driving the news: The team opens the playoffs at home Saturday at 1pm against the Brooklyn Nets, the team that swapped us guard James Harden in exchange for Ben Simmons in 2022.
- Embiid and Harden are an unguardable tandem who made history this year as the first teammates in more than four decades to lead the league in scoring and assists.
Why it matters: Even if you're not a hardcore Sixers fan, Embiid is fun to watch on — and off — court.
What to know about the towering persona of our 7-foot center:
1. 🪄 Embiid is a master of his own myth-making.
- He’s a riot on Twitter, where his handle is Joel “Troel” Embiid.
- Before getting serious with model Anne de Paula with whom he has a son he'd regularly tweet about his thing for pop star Rihanna, posting a photo of them on a “date” and creating the hashtag #JOHANNA.
Plus, for years the Cameroon native spun a wild yarn about killing a lion at six years old in order to mess with Americans who didn’t understand his upbringing.
2. 👧 Shirley Temples are the only thing that could quench all of Embiid’s online thirst.
- He doesn’t really like alcohol, so they quickly became his drink after being introduced to them one night while hanging with teammates. He once claimed to drink them almost every day.
3. 💁 His nickname is “The Process.” an insider-y dunk on the NBA for booting the general manager who drafted him.
Back to the court: The Sixers have been playoff mainstays the past several seasons. But they’ve come up short. This year Embiid is the front runner for league MVP. He's had one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 33.1 points per game — up there with the GOAT, Michael Jordan.
- Not bad for a guy who didn’t start playing organized basketball until 16 years old and whose father wanted him to play professional volleyball in Europe.
💭 Isaac’s thought bubble: “The Squad,” my group of friends considered the brain trust on all things NBA, says this may be the best Sixers team the city has seen post-Jimmy Butler. But they'll have to contend with an Eastern Conference gauntlet if they want to become the city’s fourth franchise to make the championship in the past year.
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