Joel Embiid was answering his own questions this past weekend in Chicago. The responses are what every Sixers fan needed to hear.
The Sixers big man has endured quite a harrowing few weeks, between misconstrued “hero-villain” analogies and playing in his third straight NBA All-Star game. Perhaps the most annoying conversation has been the constant chatter about Embiid and star guard Ben Simmons being mismatched in Philadelphia, unable to co-exist on the same basketball court.
Embiid sat down for an in-depth interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols where he attempted to put all those rumors to rest. Nichols, the long-time NBA reporter, started the conversation by allowing Embiid to ask the questions about his relationship with Simmons: “Can they play together? Do they hate each other?”
Embiid responded with a wry smile and chuckle, then added that he had predicted the false narrative surrounding them.
“I was actually right. A few years ago, I predicted it,” Embiid told Nichols. “I said, and I’m sure if you go back to the archives and stuff you can see that I predicted that the media was the one, you know, with my social media and Ben, they were going to try and drive us apart. So, at the end of the day, we know what we got to do. I love him. I love playing with him. He’s a special talent. He helps us a lot. I think we can accomplish something special.”
All Love Between the Sixers Dynamic Duo
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons played on different All-Star squads over the weekend but that didn’t stop the outpouring of love. Simmons took the court for Team LeBron while Embiid suited up for Team Giannis. After the game, Embiid posted a picture of the two Sixers stars with the caption: “My brother.”
Team LeBron beat Team Giannis 157-155 in the All-Star game, with both guys playing meaningful minutes down the stretch. Embiid was a force in the paint, constantly getting to the foul line, en route to 22 points and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, Simmons flashed his handle with classic no-look passes and fancy dribbling on his way to 17 points and five assists.
Before the game, Embiid joked with the media on how he was going to guard Simmons on defense and make him shoot. The Aussie guard laughed off the comment and even gave Embiid a slap on the rear end during the contest when he ran onto the court in a surprise “attack.”
“It takes time,” Simmons said about playing alongside Embiid, via ESPN. “Not everything is perfect. Not everything works right away. I love playing with Joel. I think he’s an amazing talent, a guy I respect for his game, and I know he feels the same way about me. We continue to go the right way.”
“It’s definitely going to be better after the All-Star break,” the big man said, via ESPN. “I mean, just look at the last two years, what we’ve been able to do. I think it can work, and it’s going to work.”