Joel Embiid opens up about rocky relationship with Sixers fans
Joel Embiid put on a show Monday night at Wells Fargo Center, delighting the hometown fans with an electric performance highlighted by a career-high 49 points.
JOEL EMBIID CAREER HIGH ON THE TRIPLE FOR 49 POINTS AND THE INCREDIBLE CELEBRATION AFTER. pic.twitter.com/heersMvk65— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 25, 2020
While Sixers fans were 100% behind Embiid during a 129-112 win over the Atlanta Hawks, to say the superstar has had a complicated relationship with them would be an understatement.
Following the victory, Embiid opened up about the rocky road he has had to navigate with Philly’s passionate NBA fan base.
“They might have me in a lot of trade machines and all that stuff, they might boo, but it’s still all love,” Embiid said, per Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice. “We’ve had a very, very deep connection since I’ve been in Philly.”
Embiid is among the most enigmatic stars in the league, and occasionally his antics even rub his own fans the wrong way. He was booed by Sixers fans during a home game a few weeks ago. His comments Monday night about 76ers fan were remarkably similar to what he said immediately after the home-court jeers a few weeks back.
“I’ve always appreciated everything they’ve done for me, and all the love they’ve given to me,” Embiid said Monday. “All I can do to kinda reward them is to try to get wins every single night by playing hard and doing my job, so that’s what I’m going to keep on doing.”
The ongoing disconnect between Embiid and Philly fans should hardly come as a surprise. The superstar ran afoul of 76ers fans by shushing them during a game previous to when the boo birds rained down on him on Feb. 11.
Embiid later added fuel to the fire by sharing an Instagram post about the incident, in which he alluded to himself as a “villain.”
Ultimately, winning cures all ills, even between an occasionally hostile fan base and a controversial player. Should Embiid remain focused on the court and help lead the Sixers to a deep postseason run, everything presumably will be forgiven … until the next time Embiid does something to upset the Sixers faithful.