Joel Embiid's return is the only thing with the potential to overshadow the Sixers selection at No. 1 next week. Embiid's force of personality and skill on the court could transform him into a beloved figure not just in Philadelphia, but around the world... if he can stay healthy, of course.
In a video released by VICE Sports today, Embiid talks a little bit about his past, his habit of drinking pitchers of Shirley Temples and a whole lot more. He even drops a few F-bombs for good measure:
For those who don't want to sit through all 4:30, a few highlights:
- "The media, they're going to have something to say; 300 pounds, Shirley Temple, I'm just going to let my game do the talking. I think some people are going to be surprised and I can't wait to show off."
- "The Kansas coaches came to watch me, Coach Self was quiet the whole practice, Coach Roberts was worried he wasn't going to like me. At the end of the practice, he was like, 'Are you fucking kidding me, this guy's going to be the No. 1 pick.'"
- "I knew for sure I was going to go to Cleveland and be the No. 1 pick, and then just like that the injury happened a week before the draft. When I had the setback this past summer it was really frustrating, the foot wasn't even hurting or anything like that. And then that's when they [saw] the fracture had been opened again."
- "People love my Twitter and Instagram because right before the first season I was going pretty nuts on it and just saying dumb shit, or whatever, just being funny. I think people loved it and I got a lot of comments about it, people actually wanted me to keep doing it. When I start playing I think I might go back to my ways, we might see."
Beyond their needs on the basketball court, the Sixers could use the over-sized personality of Embiid as they fight their way back to NBA relevance. If he produces on the court, that's all that will matter, but having such a fun-loving and affable guy leading the pack would be a major bonus.
Hard not to root for this kid to overcome the hurdles that have tripped him up so far. Get well soon, big fella.