How Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid lets it all out on the court, and on Twitter


By Joel Embiid

Basketball players can do this job for only 20 years. So I don’t have a lot of time to accomplish what I want. Every game is a big game for me. I’m always going to find ways to make myself better, but I think it’s because I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything. I haven’t won a championship. When I got [to Florida, from Cameroon], I was 16. I had just started playing basketball. I didn’t know English. That was the first time being away from home and having to take care of myself. I wasn’t expecting to get to the NBA. I just wanted to come to high school and get a scholarship for college. The main thing that I dealt with was not even basketball. I lost my little brother in 2014 out of nowhere. That was a big shock. Then being hurt for two years [with a broken foot] and not being able to get on the court was hard. But you’ve got to keep working hard, even through those injuries. I’m Catholic. I go to church. I pray. My mindset was always like, Hey, I just got to take care of what I got to take care of and whatever happens, happens. Sitting and watching during that time helped me. People had been waiting for me for so long. I was scared that I wasn’t going to be good enough. But I like when people tell me that I can’t do anything because I’m going to go out and prove to them that I can actually do it. That time, when I had nothing going on, was also when I started figuring out social media. I’ve always thought I was a comedian. And then [my Twitter account @joelembiid] turned into something, an alter ego. I like kicking butt on the court and then going on social media and letting everybody know that I did it and they can’t do anything about it. Since I became a father, I’ve been away from social media. Fatherhood is completely my top priority. It’s the best thing to ever happen to me. —As told to Jay Woodruff

Time he wakes up
Around 9 a.m.

First thing he does in the morning
Play with my son.

His mantra
At first, I took [Philadelphia 76ers GM Sam Hinkie’s “trust the process” mantra] as a joke because the team had been losing for a long time. But you just have to believe that someone is going to come in and change it for the better. You don’t know who, but at some point it’s going to happen. That’s really what “trust the process” meant. At the beginning, I was using it as a joke, and then after [Sam Hinkie left] I felt the need to keep pushing it because Sam had a vision that I believe in. He just didn’t get the chance to finish what he started.

How Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid lets it all out on the court, and on Twitter

How he prepares for the next day
I like to get [physical therapy] treatments after games because that’s the best time for me to make sure that my body is right instead of waiting for the next day. I usually get home at midnight and get some food.

His Twitter name
Joel “Troel” Embiid. The handle is @joelembiid.

Best habit
I’m always watching. When you show me something, I’m able to do it right away. I think that comes from observing, paying attention to details.

Worst habit
If you ask my fiancée, she’ll say video games.

Last thing he does at night
Play FIFA.

Time he goes to bed
On game days, probably 2 or 3 in the morning.

Fast Company