Joel Embiid decided to jump back on social media Monday night in what appears to be a response to criticism over his silencing the home crowd during Sunday’s win over the Chicago Bulls. Embiid and Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown both received boos from the crowd prior to the game and clearly that did not sit well with the young center.
Joel Embiid has been playing at a level much below what was expected of him after he proclaimed he was playing to win both Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year. Thinking back to the tears Embiid shed following Toronto’s heartbreaking loss in Game 7 of the playoffs last year, I believed him and saw this as his revenge season. Nothing was going to stand in his or the Philadelphia 76ers way of an NBA championship.
It’s almost at the All-Star break and Embiid’s points, rebounds, assists, and blocks are all down from the previous season. He has battled through some injuries to this point, but his on-court body language when he is playing shows disinterest and laziness.
Then comes Sunday night when Embiid hits a long three to seal the game over the Chicago Bulls and he subsequently put his index finger to his mouth to quiet the crowd and tells the Philly fans to “Shut the [expletive] up” (warning explicit language in the link).
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Embiid answered when asked about this in the post-game press conference saying he was frustrated with himself not playing up to the level he knows he can. Then, he decided to go to social media the next day.
He posted the photo of him quieting the crowd on Twitter with the caption a quote from the movie The Dark Knight, which can be seen in the link here. That in itself was not an issue, but when Jimmy Butler replied seemingly attempting to recruit Embiid to Miami, Embiid answered with enthusiasm (warning link to tweet has strong language).
Now it is well documented that Butler and Embiid are great friends and this is most likely all fun and games on social media. However, Embiid is a veteran when it comes to social media and he had to know that people would read into this exchange.
With three and a half years left on his current contract, obviously his only way out of Philadelphia would be a trade and that doesn’t seem likely at the moment.
At the end of the day, if Embiid says he needs to be a more fun-loving and outgoing player on and off the court in order to get back to playing at the level he knows he can, then he should do it. In order for the Philly fans to accept that though, he needs to start performing on the court and showing a dedication to this team and city that he has not shown over the last five months.
Until then Joel Embiid, you might have to soak up the boos from the crowd and understand that this fan base is demanding for a reason. If you want to play here and be immortalized by bringing a long-awaited championship to this city, then this is just all apart of something you are very familiar with: “The Process”.