Behind the scenes of Joel Embiid's 1st All-Star selection
The Sixers in the locker room broke out in cheer when the voting results were announced.
After Embiid entered and sat down at his locker, Markelle Fultz pretended to pour a closed bottle of water on him in celebration. T.J. McConnell gave him a congratulatory hug.
“He’s a game-changer,” McConnell said. “If he stays healthy, I think he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer.” (AP Images)
The votes were read an hour before the Sixers played the Celtics. Embiid was more focused on that final result than the ASG starting lineup selection. He reiterated his goal of making the playoffs, targeting the Sixers’ first win of the season over the Celtics.
Embiid posted a monster 26-point, 16-rebound double-double in an 89-80 win. (AP Images)
This is more than an individual achievement. Embiid sees beyond the recognition of his personal stats, acknowledging what the selection means for the Sixers and their fans.
“I think it's bigger than me,” Embiid said. “I think it's validation for the whole organization, especially after what we've been through for the past four years. I'm not excited just about myself, I'm excited for the whole city of Philadelphia, the fans worldwide.” (AP Images)
Brett Brown went into the Sixers’ locker room following the news to congratulate Embiid.
“[It’s like] someone just gave one of your children a star and put it on his paper,” Brown said. “He and I have been doing this for a long time and I have been with him the longest out of any of the players in the locker room. He’s gone through a lot and to think that somebody that has played 62 games cumulatively and just for that small sample size is now on the All-Star team and starting, his story of perseverance is remarkable.” (USA Today Images)
Embiid believes he should be joined in Los Angeles by Ben Simmons.
The rookie point guard finished fourth in Eastern Conference backcourt voting. Head coaches will select the reserves.
“I think he's been having a great season,” Embiid said. “We are .500. I think he definitely deserves it.” (AP Images)