clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sixers have a Social, Embraceable Asset in Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid is a social giant, not only blessed with physical gifts, but abilities that exceed the basketball court.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid joined Twitter in November of 2011, but didn't "start" his Twitter account until July of 2014. He used social media as a platform to exhibit not only his jovial personality and affinity for soccer, but also his passionate thirst for celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Rihanna. His affection towards Rihanna still exists today, as he noted that she was the topic him and Ben Simmons were talking about after the newest Sixer's workout, but he wasn't afraid to have his emotions on his sleeve and showcase it online.

Whatever Joel Embiid felt was going to be publicized. Embiid's following grew insurmountably that month and he started to become a must-follow for fans-with people on the brink of anxiousness waiting for Embiid to drop another fire tweet about pop culture. When trying to recruit LeBron via twitter, Embiid garnered a similar reaction. When the attempt failed and Embiid screen shot a picture of blocking LeBron on twitter, his tweet blew up with over 13,000 Retweets and 10,000 favorites.

Even if he knew the free agent had Philadelphia at No. 30 on his list of destinations, Embiid became that rookie who publicly made an attempt and failed miserably at landing the reigning champ on the Sixers. The rookie who was expected to miss his first full season in the league became known as the outlandish figure with a refreshing personality. Even former general manager Sam Hinkie, who rarely let his thoughts be heard yet alone on a public medium, found joy in Embiid's unique online personality, per Michael Kaskey-Blomain back in August of 2014.

"For a Twitter newbie I think he has found the line in a way that makes himself entertaining," Hinkie continued, before admitting that he had enjoyed Embiid's tweets. "People have had lots of laughs, and you can count me included as one of them."

Embiid has become less spontaneous over time in regards to social media, but his plan was effective. He attracted serious attention without jeopardizing his role on the team. It showed that the Cameroon native had ample amounts of charisma, but he had an additional role on social media that's indicative of some of the traits he carries as a person.

As much of a showman Embiid portrays himself to be, he's also an easy individual to connect with. He's the really big kid at your high school that happens to get along with everybody no matter their interests and personality. From hitting the shmoney dance after a victory in the 2015 season to celebrating on Twitter after wins (which were rare), Embiid was connected with the team despite having to sit out an excruciating two-straight seasons.

Foremost, he's tied to his teammates. Social media is productive to see how a player not only acts online, but what their beliefs are. Initially, he posted the standard "welcome to the team" tweet when the Sixers drafted Jerami Grant with the No. 39 pick in 2014.

On Twitter and Instagram, Embiid revved up the more personable posts. Whether it was with a certain player or with teammates, Embiid's ability to immediately connect with others was noticeable and beneficial for the Sixers-who had been the NBA's laughingstock, both literally and figuratively, for multiple seasons.

I knew this dude was taller than me.... He's like 7'1 and I'm 6'8!!!! He's definitely playing the 5

A photo posted by Joel Hans Embiid (@joelembiid) on

Happy just because I have the Sixers jersey on......SQUAD #BelieveTheHype

A photo posted by Joel Hans Embiid (@joelembiid) on

Joel Embiid welcomed teammates to the team via social media, but there's a specific nugget in his tweets and Instagram posts. He finds a certain aspect to connect with them on. Whether it be his connection to Africa with Jahlil Okafor, who he quickly embraced after being spurned by the Lakers drafting his ideal teammate in D'Angelo Russell in 2015, or Rihanna (only Simmons and Embiid really know) with Ben Simmons before he was drafted, Embiid understands the value of communication with his teammates and focusing on specifics to make them comfortable.

He has no obligation to be this involved with trying to make a decent impression on players he might eventually play with. Embiid could've concluded his comical tweets about pop culture two years ago, not be heard from in two years (other than injury news and updates) and show up for the 2016-17 season poised for his debut and 100 percent healthy. It would be acceptable, but Embiid's prowess socially and ability to progress physically through rehab has added additional hype to his anticipated first game.

Embiid was drafted for his ability to be a stalwart at the 5 both offensively and on the less glamorous end. Even with his injury-riddled freshman campaign and dominance previous to his back injury in February of 2014, it was difficult to gauge Embiid's personality and how'd he cope with being in a hyper-rebuild situation where losing was a constant. Bereft of the perils of playing on a team that's gone 28-136 over the past two seasons, Embiid is primed to grace the hardwood and make an impact in Philadelphia.

Embiid can be a factor in the festivities of July as a socialite, but he's also a selling point for players in the offseason to flock to the 215 as well. There's an undeniable hype surrounding Embiid, who could assume the starting 5 role by the end of next season. Players are enticed by talents with versatile skill sets and willing to be engaged on the defensive end. Embiid emulates that notion, operating as a rare shot blocker with a vast array of moves offensively.

A Simmons-Embiid frontcourt, plus assets in a hypothetical future Jahlil Okafor/Nerlens Noel trade, could attract backcourt complements coveting the chance to play for an emerging team. If the thought of joining an eventual dark horse in the East isn't enough to lure marquee talent, Embiid's jovial charm is another facet that can be essential for the Philadelphia 76ers acquiring high-end talent via free agency next season.