Joel Embiid: 'I think I kind of represent Twitter in the NBA'

Joel Embiid: 'I think I kind of represent Twitter in the NBA'

CAMDEN, N.J. — When Joel Embiid joined Twitter in November of 2011, he couldn’t imagine the impact he would have on social media six years later.

Now in 2017, Embiid has accumulated 522,000 followers, a number that is growing during his active All-Star voting campaign. The 22-year-old has become a pro at packing so much of his immeasurable personality into just 140 characters.

“I think I kind of represent Twitter in the NBA,” Embiid said after shootaround Friday. “I like to think all the Twitter people, I represent them. But I never thought I would have this type of influence. I’m just trying to be me. If people enjoy it, that’s great.”

Embiid said he finds all of his tweets entertaining. Once he commits to an idea, he doesn’t turn back. 

“Everything I do on social media is really funny to me. I actually think I [get] the best laugh out of anybody,” he said. “One thing I want is to be myself and I never want to change for anybody. I never hit the delete button. If I have something in my mind and I want to say it, I’m just going to say it.”

Embiid ranks his social media account high among NBA players, but also points out he doesn’t often read what others are posting. He does, though, save photoshopped images that people create of him.

“I don’t know, they’re all boring,” Embiid said with a laugh when asked whose accounts he likes.

“KD (Kevin Durant) used to be good back in the day. I haven’t really followed what he’s been tweeting. Usually, I don’t go through tweets. I don’t really go through my timeline so I don’t really get to see what anybody else tweets. When I go on Twitter, just to tweet away and laugh at it and leave. I don’t really pay attention to it.”

Embiid has been receiving an outpour of support with the NBA’s new social media voting option for the All-Star Game. On Thursday, WWE icon Triple H tweeted a vote for Embiid which the rookie called “amazing.” He ranks his favorite tweets as those involving Kim Kardashian, LeBron James and Rihanna.

“He definitely saw what I was doing, especially two years ago,” Embiid said of James. “During the game I was always messing with him, he got a pretty good laugh out of that.”

This season Embiid has been making as much of a splash on Twitter as he has on the court. He is going to keep hitting that tweet button as long as he can. 

“In the back of my head I think, ‘This is going to backfire at some point,’” Embiid said. “But before that day comes, I’m going to keep on going. When that day comes, I’m going to stop.”

Sixers center Joel Embiid returns for Game 3 against Heat

Sixers center Joel Embiid returns for Game 3 against Heat

MIAMI — Joel Embiid is back.

Embiid will play Thursday in Game 3 of the Sixers’ first-round series against the Heat, which is tied 1-1.

The big man has been sidelined since March 28 because of a concussion and left orbital fracture. He cleared the NBA concussion protocol but the fracture had kept him out.

The Sixers have been looking forward to his return as his absence was glaring in their Game 2 loss.

“He does everything,” Marco Belinelli said pregame.

There likely will be an adjustment period for Embiid. He will have to get used to playing with a protective mask.

(USA Today Images)

He also will have his conditioning tested in a physical matchup. Embiid has said he falls out of game shape when he does not play consistently. In this case, he has been out for three weeks.

Then there’s the style of basketball. The Sixers have been playing at a faster pace with more three-point shooting. Brett Brown has said he plans to morph the pre-injury and post-injury styles together when Embiid returns.

“Probably more assists for me," Ben Simmons said with a laugh. "No, but he just changes the game, gets other guys shots, rebounds the ball, blocks shots. He really does everything.”

Joel Embiid upgraded to probable for Game 3

AP Images

Joel Embiid upgraded to probable for Game 3

Updated: 4:54 p.m.

MIAMI — Joel Embiid has been upgraded to probable for the Sixers' Game 3 tonight against the Heat.

Embiid was listed as doubtful after Thursday's shootaround. An official decision does not have to be made until closer to the 7 p.m. start time. Embiid has been sidelined with a left eye orbital fracture suffered March 28.

“He went through stuff yesterday that was decent,” Brett Brown said Thursday before shootaround. “He had a little bit of contact, trying to get used to the mask, felt some bodies. But at this stage this morning, we are listing him as doubtful.” 

Embiid once again was taking threes before the start of shootaround. He posted he was "(expletive) sick and tired of being babied" on Instagram following the Sixers' Game 2 loss, their first since he was injured. The series is tied 1-1. 

If Embiid does not play, the Sixers could start either Amir Johnson (Game 1 starter) or Ersan Ilyasova (Game 2 starter). Heat center Hassan Whiteside was unfazed by the uncertainty of the matchup. 

“I’m not even thinking about what Philly’s doing,” Whiteside said. “I’m just thinking about what the Heat’s doing.” 

One decision the Sixers have made is to play Markelle Fultz more in Game 3. He had been receiving Ben Simmons’ backup minutes but was on the court for less than five minutes in Monday’s loss. Brown cited the physicality of the game as the reason he went with T.J. McConnell instead. 

“I will go back to Markelle,” Brown said. “He deserves the opportunity to play basketball in that role again. … My belief is that he will learn from the last situation.” 

Brown will watch to see how Fultz is getting into the paint, handling pressure and is getting the Sixers into their offense. Fultz is looking to be a playmaker and use his length as an advantage on defense. 

“I just want to go out there and play as hard as I can,” Fultz said.