Last October when Joel Embiid had been ruled out for what would have been his second NBA season, a piece in The Cauldron outlined his rehab and a number of negative headlines followed. Embiid was upset by both the timing (as it was the day before the anniversary of his brother Arthur's death) and the content and he considered quitting the NBA to return to Cameroon.
“I wanted to get away from all this drama,” Embiid recalls, “and stay away.”
Embiid had been in America for four years and lived in four cities.
“I never had a girlfriend before, but back then I had some type of girlfriend." Embiid says. “One day I told her my whole story.”
Embiid's ex-girlfriend encouraged him to continue his career despite the adversity.
Embiid is engaging and charismatic while also being purposely funny.
“You know how I learned to shoot?” Embiid says. “I watched white people. Just regular white people. They really put their elbow in and finish up top. You can find videos of them online.”
Embiid grew up in an upper middle class home in Cameroon and his mother drove a Mercedes.
“I was a little soft,” Embiid says, “but the Americans had no idea about any of that. They just knew I was from Africa. They thought I grew up poor, in the jungle, killing lions. I was like, If that’s how they think of me, I’m going to use it.”
“Joel is a maverick,” Brett Brown says. “He’s curious. He’s competitive. Those qualities are going to allow him to maximize his very evident gifts. But when he was out, those qualities sometimes made it a challenge to always walk that Boy Scout’s line.”
Embiid remains loyal to Sam Hinkie, who stepped down as general manager of the 76ers in April. Embiid channels Hinkie every time he references The Process.
“I think a lot about what I went through and how it prepared me to be a better man,” Embiid says. “I really feel like I’m The Process, like The Process is about me.”