Knicks Legend Issues Apology for ‘Going Off’ on Sixers’ Joel Embiid

Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (left) and Joel Embiid

Getty Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (left) and Joel Embiid

By any account, Joel Embiid had a rough time, physically, during the Sixers’ opening-round series against the Knicks. He was coming off knee surgery and sometimes walked with a noticeable limp. He was also dealing with an illness, Bell’s palsy. Despite that, he managed 33.8 points per game, 10.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists in the Sixers’ six-game loss.

Legendary Knicks guard John Starks, though, was not buying into the Embiid injuries, though, at least not during the series. Starks sat courtside and was frequently spotted trash-talking Embiid and the Sixers.

Alas, he feels bad about that now.

During an appearance on the “Roommates Show” podcast with Knicks stars Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson, Starks said (via the New York Post): “Embiid, he did that dunk and he hit the floor, I’m over there, ‘Get up! You want this smoke? Get up!’ They call timeout and the coaches coming there like [to me], ‘C’mon, stop.’

“And I’m like, ‘Nah, he want this smoke get his ass up off the ground.’ I was going off. And then when I found out what was going on, I felt bad, man. My bad, bro. I apologize to you, Joel. And I admire that you’re a warrior, man.”

Joel Embiid Had Knee Injury & Illness

Embiid underwent surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee in February, and there was concern that the procedure would end his season. But he came back in April and played five games before the end of the season, before the Sixers won the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference in the play-in tournament.

At times, he appeared to be playing on one leg, especially when Embiid appeared to re-injure the leg in Game 1 of the series against the Knicks. But if he had to play on one leg, at least he did so effectively.

As for the Bell’s palsy, Embiid said that started just ahead of the play-in tournament.

“I had bad migraines and thought it was nothing,” Embiid said. “Usually, I don’t like to check it out but for some reason I ended up having to tell somebody and, that’s why the Miami game it was just, my body was just—I was just not feeling it. And obviously, lately with, I don’t know if, if you Google the symptoms you know what it is. Pretty annoying, with the left side of my face and my mouth and my eye. …

“It’s been tough but I’m not a quitter, so you gotta keep fighting, through anything.”

Knicks Know Playoff Injuries

Now, you won’t get much sympathy regarding bumps, bruises and ailments from the Knicks, not as they head into Game 7 of their huge conference semifinal series against the Pacers with 60% of their starting five out of action—Julius Randle is out with his shoulder surgery, OG Anunoby is out with a hamstring issue and center Mitchell Robinson is out with a stress fracture in his ankle.

Bench piece Bojan Bogdanovic is out, too, with a foot injury.

Of course, the two starters who are healthy—Brunson and Hart—are only marginally so, with each dealing with injuries throughout the postseason. Hart had an abdominal injury flare up in the Knicks’ Game 6 loss, and his status for Game 7 in unclear.

Nothing new. “Add it to the list,” Brunson said.

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