Joel Embiid held his first full media availability since the NBA suspended play in March. The 7′ franchise cornerstone spoke about a range of topics. Center (no pun intended) among them was his general trepidation for resuming play in Orlando amid Covid-19 health concerns.
“I’m not a big fan of the idea but I’m gonna do my job, I’m not going to let my city down” Joel Embiid on the Orlando Bubble.— J Blevins (@JBlevinsNBA) July 7, 2020
“I don’t do anything but play video games, I don’t go out but I don’t trust the other guys to do the same”
Cited real health concerns with this plan.
Multiple times Embiid referenced spending time at home with his family, along with worrying about health. He began the press availability in a bit of a reticent tone but opened up more as the conference, held via Zoom, went on.
On Being Assertive
I know what I’m capable of, And I know what my teammates think of me. I know I’m capable of out there. Let’s see. So it’s all about me being assertive. If I feel like I’m not getting the ball, I just gotta, you know, talk to them and, you know, do what I have to do. But the but at the end of the day, I should never be in a position to complain about not getting the ball just because of why I believe I can carry the team. And I believe being by being able to do that I just gotta take matters into my own hands. – Joel Embiid 7/7/2020
On Building Chemistry
One of the big themes of this NBA restart for the Philadelphia 76ers has been forging a team out of a talented roster that struggled with chemistry at times. TPL asked the final question. “How do you view your responsibility as the franchise cornerstone to communicate with your teammates, build chemistry, and sort of bring people together? Because I think there’s a little bit of a conflict there, and I get your point about not going out, but how do you how do you work on team chemistry, and how do you view responsibility in that regard?”
“That’s what we got practices for, why we got those eight games for,” said Embiid. “It’s not like… the first time we’re gonna play with each other. Like, being in the NBA, even if you have a new teammate, just playing against the person, just watching the other guys. So it’s not the first time we play with each other. It’s not like ‘Oh, we just gonna come in and have a new offense, different offense.'”
Embiid, who had loosened up by this point, continued, “I want the ball. I want to be able to be put in a situation where, you know, I can help the team achieve the ultimate goal which is to win the championship.”
“I won’t lie; I’m not that type of guy. I’m more reserved, you know. I keep everybody close as family, and all I want to do is really play video games. The last time I did something was probably four years ago,” said Embiid about his preference to go home from practice and stay in the hotel when traveling. “I just don’t like doing anything some guys do. I don’t have any hobbies. I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t do anything. So we all different, I’m different.”
He continued, “But basketball brings us together. And we’ve had the opportunity to be with each other, to understand each other, to know each other, and we got another eight games to get back into that.. before we actually get into it [NBA playoffs]. So I’m excited. I’m excited to play.
On Concerns about the NBA Bubble
“When I say that I’m not excited about the Orlando situation, I am. I’m excited to play. I’m excited to, you know, be with my teammates, the coaches, play for the city, play for the fans who I love. So it’s gonna be an exciting time, man, we got a great chance. I do believe that. You know… I gotta do my job. And, you know, we didn’t get the chance to see it as much this year, but you can go back and look at last year’s regular-season, then what I did, and that’s what I need to have and even better if I really want to achieve that goal, which is to win the championship.”