CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid and Justin Anderson tried to soak up everything from inside U.S. Bank Stadium — the game, the crowd, the passionate celebration when the clock ran out and the Eagles were hoisting the trophy.
The magnitude of the opportunity to experience their city's team winning it all over the Patriots was not lost on the pair of Sixers.
"I can't believe I went to the Super Bowl," Anderson said after practice Monday. "Coming from where I come from, Joel was the same way, we were talking about how incredible the moment is. We were trying to take pictures and videos so we could just hold on to them forever."
Anderson and Embiid flew to Minneapolis following the Sixers' loss to the Pacers Saturday night in Indianapolis. The team did not practice Sunday after back-to-back games, making it a geographically ideal scenario.
Embiid wanted to be a part of the crowd as much as he could, so they alternated seats between the stands and a suite. Even though Embiid drew a lot of attention (it's kind of hard for a 7-foot-2 All-Star to blend in, after all), he embraced every part of it.
"Well, it wasn't exactly being treated like a regular fan because it was kind of crazy," Embiid said. "People following you all over the place, people coming up to you, pushing you, asking for pictures. It was actually insane in that case. But I always think about myself like a regular person. I want to be able to enjoy everything because I'm only 23. I want to be out and about, just seeing the whole world."
While they were at the Super Bowl, they watched celebratory reactions from a distance as fans flooded the streets of Philadelphia.
"It was insane," Embiid said. "I wish I was in town. I would have been jumping over cars and doing the same thing they were doing. But I saw the videos, it was amazing. It just shows you the passion the fans and this city have. I want to be in that type of situation, too. I was just excited about it all."
Anderson and Embiid took a charter plane back after the game. They landed in Philadelphia around 3 a.m. Monday following some delays on the runway. The Sixers practiced Monday afternoon, where they discussed the victory and what it means for the city and its fans.
"It's just an amazing story of perseverance. It's an amazing story of belief," Brett Brown said. "One of the common threads with it all is our fanbase is very unique in pro sport. To envision what a Wells Fargo arena would look like during the playoffs gets us all going."