Joel Embiid wants to make one thing clear before his first appearance in Los Angeles this week: He "loves" Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball.

All that beef the Philadelphia 76ers star center seemed to have with Ball and his outspoken father, LaVar Ball, on social media is just trash talk as far as Embiid is concerned.

"I love Lonzo," Embiid told ESPN. "The whole situation with them, I think it's just fun. I love what he's doing, especially with his own shoe. He's staking his own place. People think I hate him, but I love him."

Embiid said the NBA draft-night tweet of June 22 in which he told Sixers rookie Ben Simmons, "Please dunk on him so hard that his daddy runs on the court to save him" was meant to be a funny reference to something Simmons' sister Olivia had tweeted after LaVar Ball's controversial interaction with Fox Sports host Kristine Leahy. On May 18, Olivia Simmons tweeted, "I hope my brother dunks on Lonzo Ball so hard next year that his daddy runs on the court to help him up."

At 23, Embiid is already one of the NBA's biggest trash-talkers on and off the court. But he's a playful trash-talker, not a fearsome one. So in his mind at least, this "feud" with the Ball family is more like a WWE-style callout than real animosity.