Joel Embiid was entitled to have a chip on his shoulder in Saturday afternoon’s game against the Denver Nuggets.
Given that Embiid reappeared in the league’s MVP conversation midway through the season for the third year in a row, one would expect Embiid to be the rock to become an All-Star starter. Five seasons.
But Embiid was no rock. And on Thursday, it became official that the big man won’t be starting in this year’s All-Star Game, and after his Denver game against the Nuggets on Saturday afternoon, Embiid made his first appearance since making an All-Star game in 2018. I mentioned the fact that I am not an All Star starter.
“I wasn’t surprised,” said Embiid. “I think it’s been well-proven that I’m not liked. I’m cool. I don’t know if it’s because I get a lot of trolls or if I’m a fucking asshole, but I’m cool. Go on, I will continue to be a******** and I will continue to troll.
Over the years, Embiid has been neglected by media members and fans across the league who don’t support the 76ers. While he can’t pinpoint exactly why he often feels disadvantaged compared to his other NBA stars, Embiid vows to stay the same going forward.
“If people don’t like it, that’s their problem,” he continued. It’s kind of disrespectful because you’ve been a starter for the last five years. Focus on and everything will be fine.”
The first game since Embiid’s All-Star starter snub was certainly a statement. The Sixers recovered from his double-digit deficit to win 126-119 when the Sixers faced Denver his Nuggets, his team at the top of his Western team in his conference. Embiid, who checked in for 37 minutes, shot 18-31 from the field. He closed out the afternoon with his 47 points in a game high.
“Just trying to be aggressive from a bad game on Wednesday,” concluded Embiid. “I just wanted to be more aggressive to attack the rim and come out victorious.”
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers on All76ers on the Sports Illustrated channel. Follow him on Twitter for updates. @JGrasso_.