There was once a time in which rival athletes fraternizing together prior to a competition between their teams would be frowned upon by fans of either team. But that doesn’t appear to be the case in today’s NBA.
Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers were spotted together in San Francisco Wednesday night dining together at International Smoke, a restaurant owned by Curry’s wife, Ayesha Curry. A Twitter account called Warriors Talk posted a video of the two NBA superstars walking into the restaurant. In the video, the 7-foot Embiid and 6-foot-3 Curry are dressed casually, as Curry greets restaurant employees.
The two teams are scheduled to play each other in Oakland Thursday night; the game will be nationally televised on TNT. The Warriors have defeated the Sixers the last 10 times the two teams have played, although much of that streak came during the era of “The Process” when Philadelphia was in radical rebuilding mode. As they’re in different conferences, the Warriors and 76ers only play each other twice each season.
Embiid more often makes news for his trash talk toward rival players, so it’s rare to see him socializing with a star player on an opposing team. There hasn’t been much indication prior to now that Embiid and Curry are friends, although both players endorse Under Armour. And while there may be a temptation to fit this dinner into the template of free agency intrigue, both players are signed to their current teams for many years to come.
International Smoke, which is owned by Ayesha Curry along with restauranteur Michael Mina, opened in San Francisco in November of 2017, although it had launched as a pop-up restaurant the year before. The eatery, according to its website, “explores global approaches to fire, grilling, and smoke to create flavorful dishes that bring communities together all around the world.”
Eater San Francisco, in reviewing the restaurant in early 2018, described it as “a muted, Epcot imitation fit more for an Anywhere USA mall than a sophisticated food city,” although the review was also quick to praise Ayesha Curry as a person and businesswoman. Ayesha is a chef, cookbook author, and Food Network host, and she and Steph have three children.
Embiid reportedly hung out with Steph at Ayesha Curry’s restaurant last night. pic.twitter.com/Ht4AdiNrOL— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) January 31, 2019
After their game Thursday night, Embiid and Curry will see each other again at the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte on February 17, where both have been named starters, per USA Today.