Joel Embiid penned a story for the Players’ Tribune where he offered a side of himself fans are not always privy to. In it the superstar from Cameroon talked about his late brother Arthur, his championship aspirations, players he wants to play like, and much more. We don’t want to offer too many spoilers because you should definitely read “The Only Way is Through” for yourself.
But we can at least drop some teasers from folks on twitter:
Joel Embiid speaks. Interesting stuff here. https://t.co/cKXzf3FuuI pic.twitter.com/IXs4Nwp1m1— J Blevins (@JBlevinsNBA) January 15, 2020
Embiid has recently been criticized by some former players who would like to see him in the low post all the time. Their perspective has its merits, but does not fully account for the accelerated pace of today’s game and the way it is being officiated. It appears Embiid has responded to some of that here and promises he has heard their critiques and respects their opinions but will remain true to himself and his game.
Embiid shares that the finger injury he is dealing with is small potatoes on the scale of some of the things he has dealt with in his life, including the loss of his brother Arthur. That tragedy stays with him all the time:
I really had to look inside myself to find that joy again. Every single morning, when I woke up, I would tell myself that I had a choice. I could give up, or I could keep trying to take another step forward. I really had to remind myself why I loved the game in the first place.
Embiid has had the reputation of a guy who can be silly and loves to have fun on the court. But this piece reminds us how much of a person we do not see when we tune in for an NBA game. It’s a sad but uplifting look at how pain and love has inspired Joel.
He also promises he’ll be back and that his team will be a problem in the playoffs. He leaves us with a taste of what drives him:
"I’m done with the trash talking and the memes and all that. Once I’m holding that trophy in my hands, maybe I’ll be back to my charming self. For now, I got one thing on my mind.— Brandon Apter (@bapter23) January 15, 2020
I’m not trying to win a debate.
I’m trying to win a f***** title.
Every Sixers fan should read what the team’s best player has to say. In this writer’s humble opinion, he is one of the most likable and exciting athletes in the world. That he is from another country on another continent makes it all the more fun that he represents the city of Philadelphia (and the sentiment of freedom that Philly represents historically). Getting a glimpse of what motivates Embiid internally and allows him to dominate NBA games (like he did on Christmas Day against reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo) gives more meaning to the nightly performances Sixers fans get to enjoy.