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2017 Year in Review: The Joel Embiid “Enemy” List

Joel Embiid spent 2017 adding people to his list of “enemies,” so we asked writers for their team sites to talk about JoJo.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid loves to get under people’s skin. His combination of skill, fragility, and trash-talk seems to be a perfect storm of trolling, and the fact that Embiid really enjoys it just pushed him to do it more, and pushes others to react. It’s all in good fun, and most players get that, but every once in a while, someone new makes the list. Just this week, Jusuf Nurkic became the latest member of the List of JoJo.

Looking back on the list and it’s members, we thought it would be fun to take a look at what earned them their spot. Embiid has had minor run-ins with Donovan Mitchell, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony (slightly less minor), Karl-Anthony Towns, and more. We asked our friends at the other team sites to talk a bit about their team/player’s relationship with Joel, and here are their responses.

Draymond Green

Their relationship was previously discussed here, and Golden State of Mind’s Charlie Stanton expounded on it:

The Embiid-Draymond Green “feud” is not really a feud. Embiid told Green over the summer that he would “kick his ass” when they played and Green thinks Embiid is “f***ing hilarious.” Other than the Warriors beating the Sixers (twice), not much has happened. Both Green and Embiid are basketball messiahs who are changing the way NBA rosters are constructed. As a Warriors fan, I can say Embiid is my favorite non-Warrior in the league. He might be Draymond’s too. Until Embiid competes in the playoffs, I can’t envision any real bad blood between them.

Andre Drummond

One of the few feuds that seems like it could actually be something. Here’s Detroit Bad Boys’ Sean Corp:

My first reaction when Embiid called out Drummond for not playing defense was, "Hey, only Pistons fans are allowed to rag on Dre for not playing defense." As far as my reaction to Embiid, internet troll personified and perfected in human form, I mostly love it. He's genuinely funny and while he can overdo it in Judd Apatowian riff-parade fashion, I'm pro things that make basketball more fun and less serious. My one big caveat with Embiid, and the Philly troll army fighting on his behalf, is that y'all are definitely playing with fire. I don't believe in many silly things, but one silly thing I definitely believe in is karma. And let's just say that if I was a player with the injury history of Joel Embiid, I'd mostly just shut up and keep working toward a Hall of Fame career. Philly fans are also tempting fate to a dangerous degree with the way they have chosen to worship at the altar of a player with less than 60 pro games under his belt. Talk is for players who have done it before, and I'd say the ratio of talk to results just isn't there for Embiid yet.


The Houston Rockets may be our cousins-in-Process, but all is not always honky dory. The Dream Shake’s Ethan Rothstein:

Let me start this with the caveat that all Rockets fans consider the Sixers one of our favorite teams, like the cousin to our children, the Rockets. Sam Hinkie is the founder of the Process and he was a Daryl Morey protege. As Morey acolytes, we have always strived to see Embiid's greatness flourish, because validation of Hinkie is just further validation of Morey (also the Sixers are in the East so it's good to have a team to root for out there). That being said, Embiid does not want to see the wrong side of Nene. Can he give him the business on the court? But Nene gives off a "retired John Wick" vibe. He is content with peace, but ready to win the war you bring to his doorstep. Embiid is lucky Nene only plays like 18 minutes a game. He doesn't want to catch these Brazilian hands.

Lonzo Ball

The Lakers and Sixers are intertwined for many reasons: Old rivalries, owned draft picks, and the whole Lonzo/Simmons/Embiid/Lavar deal. Here’s Silver Screen and Roll’s Andrew Garrison. I want to thank Andrew for his submission, and also warn him (and you) that what he’s about to say is gonna rile people up. A lot. Sorry:

Joel Embiid really is one of the most amazing young players to watch. His ability on the court is matched only by his trash talk off of it, seemingly ready and willing to get into a barb battle with anyone in the NBA. He also happens to let LaVar Ball live rent free in his head, for whatever reason, and that's a little worrisome when it comes to your franchise players mentality. Maybe it's all for show, but I digress!

Really, though, I love Embiid. He reminds me of a young Andrew Bynum, seemingly born with more post moves than he knows what to do with but knees that don't want to play basketball. Of course, put some respect on Bynum's name, a two-time NBA champion who might end up still having more games played in the league than Embiid once it's all said and done. Who knows if Joel will even rise up to the lofty bar of having his own barber show up at halftime for a haircut, one of Andrew's finest moments as a pro. There's a bank in every city, baby, and he thanks the city of Philadelphia for letting him deposit his checks there for a year.

DeMarcus Cousins

We didn’t get a reaction back in time on Boogie, but this is really all anyone needs:

Hassan Whiteside

I took this one:

Though Whiteside, like everyone else on The List, says his beef with Embiid is all in good fun, this is probably the one that comes the closest to being real. A great breakdown of the whole back-and-forth is right here, but it started the year before, with Whiteside taking umbrage with Joel lobbying for his own All-Star bid, saying it’s just a twitter personality contest. That led to Embiid tweeting #NBAVote Hassan Whiteside (a move he repeated this season by retweeting one about Drummond). But it was this year we actually got the greatest gift we’ve been given from any single “feud” on this list is one thing: Your +/- was ass. That’s it. That’s all we needed. It’s beautiful.

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