Joel Embiid, ‘in a dark place,’ considered retirement during lost seasons
Joel Embiid has revealed his first two injury-plagued seasons were so trying at times he actually contemplated retirement.
The Philadelphia 76ers budding young superstar had to navigate a rocky road before making his NBA debut, to put it mildly.
Before even being drafted third-overall by the Sixers in the 2014 NBA Draft, Embiid underwent surgery to repair a broken navicular bone in his right foot. While he was expected to be out only four to six months, he missed his entire rookie season.
Bad news followed following the 2014-15 NBA season when it was determined Embiid likely wouldn’t play in a second season either after experiencing a setback in his recovery that led to another surgery in August 2015. Embiid ultimately did miss the entire 2015-16 NBA season.
Embiid recently opened up about the many struggles endured during those lost seasons. It reached such a state that at one point, he seriously thought about retiring.
“I was such in a dark place,” Embiid said during an interview with ESPN Radio, as transcribed by Pro Basketball Talk. “I wanted to quit basketball. I just wanted to go back home and just leave everything behind.
“That was right after my second surgery. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I just wanted to, like, quit.”
The Sixers center fortunately overcame all the self-doubt, disappointment and frustration and finally made his NBA debut this season. And to say he’s stormed onto the scene would be an understatement.
While he hasn’t played in 14 of the 76ers’ last 15 games due to a torn meniscus, Embiid has already put the NBA on notice that he was worth the wait, averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.5 blocks in 31 games played.
Perhaps just as intriguing, not only is Embiid one of the most talented young players in the league, he’s also one of the most charismatic. In fact, Embiid has helped the perpetually miserable and oft-ignored 76ers organization draw national interest, not mockery.
Embiid might just say that alone is worth a round of Shirley Temples, the 22-year-old’s drink of choice.