Joel Embiid’s fixation with sugary drinks has been known since he was a wide-eyed freshman at Kansas University. Whether he was downing pink lemonade or expressing his love for Shirley Temples, Embiid made it clear he couldn’t get enough.
As with most things that are fun and harmless, corporate suits saw a bunch of people having fun with this and decided the most important question to ask was, “How do we market this?”
Ever since the Sixers figured out fans found Embiid’s love for Shirley Temples endearing, they’ve turned it into a branding opportunity whenever possible. The team offered $5 versions of the drink at a game during his All-Star push, and while attending the lottery Tuesday night, Scott O’Neil couldn’t help but share the picture you see up top with his 15,000+ Twitter followers.
Look, if it were authentic, it would be freaking adorable! I get it. But unfortunately for O’Neil, the team left some incriminating evidence behind on their own website, and this potentially iconic photo is now just the latest example of how bad the #FakeNews epidemic has become.
Following the lottery, Embiid sat down for an interview with Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com, and Seltzer specifically asked about how refreshing the drink was for him on stage. As it turns out, it was nothing more than a cheap prop*:
For shame, Sixers, for shame.
*Editor’s note: This clip has been slightly altered for dramatic purposes.