October 14, 2017
We can all be honest with one another: nobody is all that invested in the final NBA preseason game. It tends to be one last showcase for the men on the end of the bench, the players destined for the NBA Developmental League and overseas contracts.
Don't tell that to Joel Embiid. About an hour's drive from his former college stomping grounds, Embiid came out against the Miami Heat with something to prove. Part of that is just him trying to play catch up before the season opener, but there were some additional bragging rights on the line for Embiid. You see, this was his first chance to take a shot at Miami center Hassan Whiteside this season, and let's just say they don't really get along.
That much was clear in the game's opening minutes, with both centers jostling for position and refusing to cede an inch to their combatant. Whiteside looked like he would get an easy bucket in transition early in the first quarter, but Embiid was not about to let him shine.
Things only got testier from there. Before three minutes of game time had gone by, Embiid forced Whiteside into picking up three fouls, sending the talented big man to the bench before he had any chance to impact the game. Not content to let him walk back there quietly, Embiid started chirping as soon as the third foul was drawn, telling Miami's bench to make sure they got Whiteside out of there.
Here is full vid of Embiid drawing Whiteside’s 3rd foul, telling Heat bench to get him out the game pic.twitter.com/MO4l0yo37s— 🚁Sky Wob🚁 (@World_Wide_Wob) October 14, 2017
Every chance there was an opportunity for both centers to attack one another, they did, often to the detriment of their own offenses on Friday night. The Sixers were a much better team with Embiid on the court, but he finished the game 1/7 from the field, and Whiteside poked the bear on social media after the game.
The media won’t show that 😂🤷🏽♂️— Hassan Whiteside (@youngwhiteside) October 14, 2017
If you thought Embiid would take that on the chin without saying anything, you haven't been paying much attention to his social media use.
My bad y’all , I thought I was using my burner account #TheProcess— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) October 14, 2017
Whiteside, in the midst of getting laughed off Twitter, resorted to the boring retort people cling to whenever they're locked in a debate with Embiid.
Whiteside probably shouldn't throw stones from his glass house. Embiid's only barrier to playing his first three years has been health, a factor well outside his control. Whiteside flat out wasn't good enough to play in the NBA in his first three professional seasons and ended up appearing in only 19 games during his first two years, forced to take his talents overseas for his third and fourth season. And oh by the way, his team got absolutely dominated in Friday's game, falling 119-95 to Embiid's Sixers.
For background, their mutual dislike of one another dates back to last season, when Embiid led the Sixers to an early-season win over Whiteside's Heat, and then tagged him in a picture with the location tag "BBQ Chicken" later that evening.
I really don't even want to talk about it. It's more so a gimmick. I look at guys and they just do stuff to win the fans over, make jokes on Twitter to get people to vote for them. It ain't got nothing to do really with talent.
When Embiid got wind of that set of quotes, he did what any reasonable person would do: he made another joke about the situation on Twitter.
Update: Embiid just called Whiteside “extremely ass” on Instagram pic.twitter.com/RkiMJ3Cx8A— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) October 14, 2017
...you just hope he can stay on the court long enough to wage war against Whiteside again. His next shot at Whiteside doesn't come until February, when the Heat will visit the Sixers in South Philly. Expect a few boos to come down from the Philly faithful.