Joel Embiid opens up — even more — in Players’ Tribune piece

Former Kansas center Joel Embiid laughs while working with Philadelphia teammate Dario Saric in Allen Fieldhouse on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, during a Sixers practice.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, under a rock or on a different planet, you know by now that former Kansas basketball center Joel Embiid, now one of the brightest shining stars in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers, is one of the most entertaining professional athletes on social media.

From flirting with Rihanna to posting videos and pictures of him jogging or playing pickup games on the streets of Phily, Embiid, since turning pro, has never been afraid to put himself out there and share his life and his world with his adoring fans.

On Friday, Embiid took it one step farther by releasing a piece via The Players’ Tribune in which he insists that his life is a movie and then goes on and on backing up that claim.

It’s equal parts entertaining and eye-rolling and figures to leave you laughing and wishing, yet again, that Embiid had been forced to stay four seasons in college instead of turning pro after just one.

Here are a couple of quick excerpts from the article. But you should definitely carve out a few minutes of your day to go read the whole thing. You won’t be disappointed and it’s a perfect read for a Friday.

• Embiid on his very first experience with a basketball practice after arriving in the U.S…

“So I went to the practice on the first

day, and I was so bad that the coach

kicked me out of the gym. I didn’t

know what I was doing. I was so

skinny, so soft. But the worst part

was that all my own teammates were

seriously pointing and laughing at me,

like the asshole kids in the movies

about high school. It was crazy. I’m

looking at these dudes, not really

understanding what they’re even

saying, like, Damn guys, come on,

let’s just trust the process here.”

• Embiid on where he learned how to shoot that sweet jumper of his…

“Listen, I know it’s a stereotype, but

have you ever seen a normal,

30-year-old white guy shoot a

3-pointer? That elbow is tucked, man.

The knees are bent. The follow-through

is perfect. Always. You know how in

America, there’s always an older guy

wearing like EVERLAST sweat-shorts at

the court? That guy is always a

problem. His J is always wet. Those

are the guys I learned from on

YouTube. Just random people shooting

threes with perfect form.”

• Embiid on the first NBA game he ever watched…

“The first time I ever watched an NBA

game was the 2009 Finals. Lakers vs.

Magic. Dwight. Pau. Odom. KOBE. I had

never seen anything like that. I was

watching those dudes shoot like 100%

from the floor. Everything was going

in. The way they moved, and the

athleticism, I thought it was the

coolest thing in the world. I had that

moment like, I just wanna do that.”

• Embiid on his first experience in the gym at KU…

“My very first scrimmage at Kansas, I

got dunked on so hard by Tarik Black

that I almost quit. Tarik dunked on me

so hard that I was looking at plane

tickets home. This guy was a senior.

He was a grown man. I didn’t know what

was going on. He got his own rebound

and dunked over me so hard that

everything went in slow motion.”

“He dunked the ball off my head, for

real. But I didn’t even tell you the

worst part. The worst part was that

the entire Kansas women’s hoops team

was sitting in the bleachers watching

the scrimmage. The whole gym was

laughing at me. It was crazy.

Seriously, it was like a WORLDSTAR


“So I went straight to Bill Self’s

office afterward and I said, “I can’t

do this. You have to redshirt me. I

can’t play with these guys.” And Bill

was like, “What? Are you serious? In

two years, you’re going to be the No.

1 pick in the NBA draft.”

Self was close, of course. Embiid wound up going No. 3 in the draft and it did not take him two years to get there.

There’s so much more color and flare in this story than these few excerpts show. So go read it, enjoy it and be thankful that the world knows who Joel Embiid is.


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