The NBA has no idea what they have brewing on their hands with Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers. He’s funny, down-to-earth, very skilled and most of all, he’s hungry. That’s not to say that NBA players are lacking the necessary hunger to win in the league, but when players are forming super teams, there is a competitive problem.
Embiid is a different breed. He’s playing in this era, but his soul and drive for the game are better suited for the Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird era. His competitive nature may come off as arrogant, rub players and fans the wrong way, but what you do if your career and your endurance were constantly criticized?
Embiid has used social media as a marketing tool since he joined the Philadelphia 76ers. He has made his presence felt in the NBA way before he started dominating. The problem is, no one had an issue with it until he started backing it up with his play. Current NBA players may talk a little trash between plays, however, Embiid talks a ton of it then produces while also getting the crowd involved.
This week alone he has engaged in a war of words on and off the court with Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Karl Anthony-Towns.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) December 14, 2017
What this proves is that players are enjoying this and so are the fans. Embiid has brought the NBA back to an era where competition is key. While the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, and Boston Celtics are full of All-Star caliber players, the 76ers have built theirs from the ground up and that’s why Embiid has taken the stance he has. The 76ers are the underdogs the NBA must have. The one team that when everything comes together could easily be the next Chicago Bulls or San Antonio Spurs dynasty.
What Embiid did against the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night was just an example of just how much his play and antics can rattle opposing players. At one point, he backed down Carmelo which resulted in a basket and the foul. There were a few words exchanged and Melo reportedly told Embiid “Don’t do that.” Embiid didn’t care about Melo’s resume, he’s not on the court to ask for autographs, he’s there to lead his team to a victory over another super team.
Russell Westbrook had a send-off for Joel Embiid after the game: pic.twitter.com/niXxC21T1Q
— ESPN (@espn) December 16, 2017
According to The Big Lead, it’s only a matter of time before Embiid’s actions cause a rift between players and fans. But do you think he really cares is the question? Embiid, Anthony-Towns, Andre Drummond, and DeMarcus Cousins have brought back the era of big men in the NBA and the lost art of classic trash talk.