How REAL is Joel Embiid???
Before I try to make sense of this post, I have to declare a few points for the purpose of full disclosure …
- I am not much of basketball fan, except for the NCAA #FinalFour Tournament.
- I am even less an NBA fan. Mostly because I rarely played the game much as a kid, and less often as I grew older.
- On the other hand, I am a Philadelphia sports fan, and grew to appreciate very good Philadelphia 76ers teams and players in the past … Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Charles Barkley, Bobby Jones, Billy Cunningham, Maurice Cheeks, Allen Iverson, Darryl Dawkins, etc.
With that kind of dubious basketball pedigree, the Reader can feel free to heavily discount my point-of-view when it comes to Philly basketball. But that won’t stop me. I feel a certain gravitational pull towards the current Sixers squad.
After boring the region for a few years with the Hinkie Process, it now looks like Sam Hinkie should have a statue outside the Wells Fargo Center should this collection of ballers fulfill the region’s promising expectations! (My eldest son makes a valid point in recognizing that many fans are now fully embracing the results of The Process are hypocritical, given their disdain for Hinkie’s quest which eventually cost him his 76ers General Manager job.)
My tangential basketball interest is always piqued however by BIG talents, as the above player list illustrates. Certainly, Joel Embiid is a BIG personality … both physically at 7’2″, 285 pounds and personality!
It’s easy to be enthralled with his stature and physical talents; quite another to watch the guy interacting on-court and off, including the way he has immersed himself in the City and the ever hungry virtual world. He’s one of the few NBA stars I follow on Twitter!
So how REAL is this guy?!? Very real so far … Embiid does not lack for confidence, trash talk (a Philly soft spot), and enjoying Life. Even I found his antics against the Utah Jazz, where Embiid taunted Donovan Mitchell into a silly technical foul, very entertaining!
But where will Embiid and his merry legion take the area’s Philly fans??? With the talent of Embiid, Ben Simmons, Robert Covington and JJ Redick it’s easy to get drawn into the promises of the Future.
As a marginal fan, I doubt we will see extended success beyond the promise of a playoff appearance this year. (Then again, I said the same thing about the Philadelphia Eagles before the 2017 NFL season started.) But the Future sure does look exciting. With Ben Simmons looking like a solid NBA All-Star (so I’m told) and Markelle Fultz potentially a put-you-over-the-top talent, the Philadelphia region could be on the verge of a long franchise run.
Regardless of my limited basketball knowledge, I am confident that I can recognize big-time talent. More than that I can recognize the kind of player in whom Philadelphia Sports Fans are likely to fall in love. We tend to appreciate sports figures who work their butts off; play hard; and generally don’t act like privileged prima donnas forced to walk among the Great Unwashed.
Joel Embiid seems to fit quite comfortably into the Philly sports scene, demanding as that sometimes can be. But if successful, Philly fans will love their kind of player for decades AFTER they stop playing! The question is will this group be able to take our fans where they desperately want to go?
The Answers – so far – appear quite promising!