Brett Brown jokes about Shaq, Barkley over Joel Embiid chatter
Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal challenged Joel Embiid to realize his vast potential during a segment on “Inside the NBA” earlier this week, and the superstar admitted following his outstanding game Thursday that he took the stern words from the two legends to heart.
In light of how the prodding by the dynamic analyst duo quickly paid dividends for Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown joked that perhaps he should bring Shaq and Sir Charles into the fold to better utilize their talents.
“I’d like to hire them as motivational coaches,” Brown said with a grin following the Sixers’ 115-109 victory over the Boston Celtics, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
Embiid was magnificent in Thursday night’s win at TD Garden, posting a stat line of 38 points, 13 rebounds, six assists as well as a critical block late in the game. Afterward, Embiid admitted the criticism out of Barkley and O’Neal really resonated with him.
“For them to say that I have the potential to be the best player in the world, and I haven’t shown that, and I should let it be shown, that says a lot,” Embiid said. “They’ve been there, they’ve done it, they’re Hall of Famers, so it just shows me I have to play harder and like I can.”
The comments from Barkley that inspired Embiid surrounded how the Sixers star is rarely mentioned alongside the players hailed as the best in basketball despite the talent and potential to merit it. Shaq, meanwhile, observed that Embiid cannot be content with scoring only 22 points per game, which is where his season average stood at the time of the panel discussion on Tuesday night.
Barkley even made the case that the Sixers have “no chance” of reaching the NBA Finals this season, let alone winning a title, if Embiid doesn’t elevate his game.
At least for one night, Embiid did just that. After the game, he mentioned he actually reached out to O’Neal, and added the constructive criticism was appreciated.
“Whatever they said, I think it was good for me,” Embiid said.