No one would accuse Joel Embiid of lacking confidence. The only things that can actually match Embiid’s outsized personality are his massive, 7-foot-2 frame and ridiculously diverse skill set. That combination has made him one of the NBA’s most popular players over the past two seasons, and one of the biggest attractions as the Philadelphia 76ers center approaches his first All-Star Game here Sunday. But it was that same 7-foot-2 frame that nearly ended Embiid’s career before it began. “My body died,” Embiid said Friday, recalling an injury in the summer of 2015, after he had already missed an entire NBA season. The result was a second lost season. Two years into his pro career, the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NBA draft had never stepped foot onto an NBA court, and it was easy to assume he may never. “At some points, I wanted to quit,” Embiid said. “There were surgeries after surgeries, and I didn’t really believe in myself. I didn’t feel good about my body.” But Embiid’s NBA story didn’t end there, like other lottery picks whose bodies failed them too early, most notably Greg Oden and Sam Bowie. Embiid recovered, first playing 31 games last season — showing enough eye-popping potential that Philadelphia was willing to risk signing him to a five-year max contract extension worth $148 million in October — and now following that impressive campaign with a healthy season thus far. He’s unleashing a package of size, charisma and talent the league has rarely seen.
Joel Embiid is already an all-star starter. His next goal: Becoming the NBA’s best player.
Washington Post | Feb 18