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January 11, 2017

Sixers' Embiid explains his love of Shirley Temples – and why he's cutting back

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Remember back when Joel Embiid was still injured, before we knew whether or not he'd be as good as everyone was hoping, back when the seven-footer's Shirley Temple obsession was revealed? 

Remember how everyone freaked out when they imagined Embiid sitting in a hotel room, ordering Shirley Temples by the pitcher and fried food by the bucket?

Allow me to refresh your memory:

Embiid's attitude undermining Philadelphia's 'process'

October 15th, 2015

This type of disregard for instruction also extends to Embiid’s dietary habits. Per a source, the Sixers’ training staff was so concerned about what he was eating, they stocked the refrigerator in his downtown hotel residence each week with healthy food. When a staffer went to restock the fridge each week, most everything was uneaten and unopened, and they were throwing out the fruits and vegetables every week. When the team subsequently asked to see Embiid’s room service bill, they found that most days he was ordering junk food along with his signature beverage, a pitcher of Shirley Temples. Embiid also was frequently seen feasting on chicken fingers and hot dogs at and after games. 

Although there’s nothing particularly uncommon about a 21-year-old with poor dietary habits, the pattern of Embiid’s chronic insubordination makes this part and parcel to a larger issue. While reports of Embiid ballooning to 300 pounds were patently false, Embiid’s conditioning and dietary habits are a constant source of strife for the Sixers front office, per multiple sources.  []

That caused the Philly media to do what it typically does: overreact. It got so bad that weeks after that report initially surfaced, Sixers brass was still out there trying to discredit the story. 

The clip that follows is from our own Rich Hofmann, about the time Sixers CEO Scott O'Neil went on The Mike Missanelli Show on 97.5 The Fanatic on October 29, 2015 -- two full weeks after Sports Illustrated/The Cauldron ran their initial story.

Early in the interview, Missanelli brought up the Shirley Temple report. While trying to identify the publication (The Cauldron/Sports Illustrated), O’Neil interrupted the radio host.

“It was I Have No Sources dot com,” O’Neil said. 

Funny how time – and a boatload of talent – changes things.

Perhaps it's because of their star rookie's larger than life presence, both on the court and off, that the Sixers have come full circle on Emiid's drink of choice. Now, not only are they embracing his obsession with the fizzy red drink, they're also using it as a way get Embiid voted into the NBA All-Star Game.

They were also selling them at various concession stands around the Wells Fargo Center during Wednesday night's game against the Knicks.

Following the Sixers' pregame shootaround, Embiid explained why he's so sweet on Shirley Temples, something that dates back to his time at Kansas. And, in the least surprising reveals of all time, it started with a girl.

Embiid did point out, however, that he's trying to lose a few pounds and has therefore cut back on his Shirley Temple intake. That being said, he still has one "almost every day."

Here's more on his plan to drop five pounds, via Brian Seltzer of

“During the regular season, it’s kind of hard to really work on your body, lifting weights and all that,” [Embiid] said. “I got to get back to doing that, but at the same time making sure I’m ready to play every night.”

Embiid said his weight is currently at around 270 pounds. He called it the “right weight,” but admitted he still feels heavy at times. Down the road, Embiid hopes he can reach the 265-pound mark.  []

Keep playing the way you've been, Joel, and you deserve to reward a hard day's work with an ice cold Shirley Temple...

Now, have you heard of something called a Spiked Shirley?

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin