The700Level

Joel Embiid on killing lions as a kid, Ben Simmons' recovery, and Donald Trump

Joel Embiid on killing lions as a kid, Ben Simmons' recovery, and Donald Trump

Joel Embiid is legitimately hilarious. We've seen it on Twitter for a long time now. And we're starting to see it more and more in his interactions with his teammates and the media.

This wasn't something that happened overnight. Embiid has been having fun for a long time.

We were reminded of one such story thanks to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical sitting down with Embiid and Sixers coach Brett Brown for his podcast.

One of the questions Woj asked Joel was about the perceptions Americans had of him as a young man coming to the United States from his native Cameroon to play basketball.

"When they think about Africans, they think about us just running around with lions and tigers and all those other animals. When I got to Kansas, I kind of used that to my advantage, talking about how I killed a lion. That's how I became a man, because when I was six years old I had to go into the jungle and kill a lion and carry it on my back to bring back to my village."

"And they bought into it."

I mean, I probably would have believed him.

"The story might be true, it might be false," Embiid added. "Nobody would ever know now. If anybody tries me, they'll find out." 

But Embiid can have a serious side when he needs to. After having one of the best Tweets of election night about America tanking after Donald Trump won on Tuesday, he gave Woj a much more serious and thoughtful answer.

"Growing up in Cameroon, I always thought the U.S. was just amazing. It was just a dream. I thought it was heaven. And then coming here a couple years ago, the U.S. is still nice, but it's not like what I thought it was going to be. With the election going on and Donald Trump getting elected, I mean I don't usually get into politics but with the way he's been acting -- talking about racism and women -- it's hard to understand why people elected him. It just shows you the way people think. Racism isn't over and people are still behind him."

"I feel like it's not going to be as bad as people make it out to be. I hope it's not going to be like that."

There's plenty of other interesting stuff touched on as well. From Embiid's extremely trying rehab, to the death of his brother, to the fun he's having finally playing for the Sixers, and even how he's helping Ben Simmons deal with injury coming into the NBA.

"The main thing I've been telling him is patience. That patience is going to pay off. The first time I kind of rushed everything," Embiid said. "He has the team to back him up on that. Nobody is going to rush him."

You can listen to the full 45-minute podcast here.

Sixers pick up first boring win of the season against Jazz

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Sixers pick up first boring win of the season against Jazz

There was a time as Sixers fans when being 16 games into the season meant it legitimately felt like there was no chance the team would ever win another game of basketball. Now, we're beating teams at home by a lot because we're better than them, moving to multiple games over .500, and -- as of last night -- even breaking even with our overall scoring differential. Yawn. 

The Philadelphia 76ers beat the Utah Jazz last night by a score of 107-86. Joel Embiid had something of an off night (15 points on 7-16 shooting), our shooters couldn't quite get it going (4-15 from deep), but we still won by 21. It wasn't quite a blowout, but it definitely wasn't a nail-biter. It wasn't an upset or a moral loss or a validating triumph. It wasn't anything, really, except a win. 

In it's own way, of course, that makes it the most meaningful W of the season for Philly. It has been a very long time -- maybe since the Doug Collins era -- since the Sixers won a game without it being a referendum on either team. The Sixers simply won because they're a better team with more good players -- especially with the Jazz missing a couple key dudes, though we also beat them in Utah a couple weeks ago without Joel Embiid, so whatever. And the Jazz aren't even the worst team in the league, or really even one of them -- they're just a not-totally-terrible team that the Sixers are still decisively superior to. 

Long have I dreamed of wins like this, to have a game where there was nothing to say in the recap except how there's nothing really to say in the recap. Next time the Sixers pick up another W this casual -- and it probably won't take all that long, either -- I won't even be able to write this column again. I'll probably have to try writing in haiku or cryptogram or something to attempt to make the story interesting. 

And that's fine: After four years of historic losing, we'll trade narratives for Ws any time. You keep it real boring, Sixers.

Joel Embiid swatted Donovan Mitchell, drew a tech, and ignited a Philly explosion

Joel Embiid swatted Donovan Mitchell, drew a tech, and ignited a Philly explosion

We didn't even know if Joel Embiid was going to play just hours before tonight's contest as he was listed as a game-time decision with knee soreness.

Play he did. And he treated the Wells Fargo Center crowd to one of the more energetic moments of the evening. 

The Sixers beat the Jazz in South Philly on Monday night, 107-86, to bounce back from that tough loss on Saturday (see observations).

Embiid was a big part of that. He finished with 15 points, 11 boards, three assists and a couple of blocks.

It was one block on Donovan Mitchell in particular that had The Center going bonkers.

Watch:

The block, the stare down, the technical foul signal, the crowd pumping ... Embiid provided a perfect moment.

"It was some good theater and the two embraced afterwards. It was fun to watch," Marc Zumoff said after the game.

Mitchell wrote it off as a rookie mistake.

"Just gotta keep my head," Mitchell said. "It's a learning experience, especially in that situation when we're making a comeback."

Whether they were making a comeback or not is debatable. 

"I shouldn't have done it. I should have just let it go."

Brett Brown was OK with the play.

"I'm always mindful of how do we stay disciplined," Brown said. "Jo understands it's risky if you taunt. I want my guys playing with an edge. I want them to feel some level of swagger and feel good about themselves. That was a big play. It certainly got the crowd involved."

As for his part in the incident, Embiid admitted he may have embellished just a bit. The big guy is not that easy to move.

"I flopped and he got a technical for it," Embiid said. "That's basically how it happened. It's all fun. After the game, we shook hands."