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