At a forum focused on the subject of storytelling, Joel Embiid certainly made attention-grabbing comments.
Embiid spoke last Thursday at the Uninterrupted Film Festival in Los Angeles with Maverick Carter, who’s the CEO of the SpringHill Company. Embiid’s new media company, Miniature Géant, has partnered with SpringHill.
In a widely circulated snippet of that interview posted to Twitter on Monday morning by AJ Torres, Embiid replied to a broad question about what to expect from him moving forward.
“I just want to win a championship — whatever it takes,” Embiid said. “I don’t know where that’s going to be, whether that’s in Philly or anywhere else. I just want to have a chance to accomplish that. I want to see what it feels like to win that first one, and then you can think about the next one.
“It’s not easy, but it takes more than one, two, three guys; got to have good people around you. Every single day, I work hard to be at that level so I can produce and make it happen. Every single day, I’m working towards that goal. That’s where my mindset has always been.
“MVP is just an added bonus. … It’s amazing. I know a lot of people take it for granted, but there’s not a lot of people that get to have that opportunity to be called the MVP of the league. So I was extremely happy about it, excited about it. But the championship, that’s one thing that I’ve got to work hard for.”
Embiid, 29, is easily the longest-tenured Sixer and has previously said on multiple occasions that he wants to retire in Philadelphia. He’s set to begin a four-year supermax extension in the 2023-24 season.
A little less than two years after Ben Simmons held out of training camp, there’s again major uncertainty surrounding the Sixers’ No. 2 star. James Harden has asked the Sixers to explore trades, but he remains on the team for now. Embiid told Showtime’s Rachel Nichols earlier this month that he wants Harden to come back and hopes the 10-time All-Star’s “mindset can be changed.”
The Sixers fell to 0-5 in second-round playoff series during Embiid’s career with a seven-game defeat last season to the Celtics. Playing through a significant right knee injury, he posted 15 points on 5-for-18 shooting and eight rebounds in the team’s blowout Game 7 loss.
“I like the challenge,” Embiid said to Carter. “It can be frustrating at times because over and over and over, the same things might happen. There’s never any continuity. All my years in the league, I feel like every single year it’s always been different teams. There’s always been change. But I do like the challenge. It doesn’t matter who’s on my team, I just want to go out and try to do the best job possible to put us in a position to win.”
In response to a question about whether he’s cognizant of dictating narratives through his in-season media availabilities, Embiid also had an interesting answer. (The full interview was posted on YouTube by TheMovieReport.com.)
“Yeah, for sure,” he said. “Basketball is more than what happens on the floor. At times, you’ve got to set the tone. If you just lost a game in the playoffs and you’re trying to send a message — not just to the opposition, but also to your teammates — you can use the media, and what you say can push that.
“My guy Tyrese (Maxey), I’m always saying a bunch of stuff (about him). But yeah, at the end of the day, they understand it’s all because you want to win. At the end of the day, that’s all we want. Once you have that understanding, everything is cool.”
While Embiid doesn’t have complete control of all narratives, people clearly take notice when the reigning MVP speaks. He knows it, too.
As an unsurprising postscript, Embiid later highlighted the “Troel” in his Twitter username.
He then called Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey “the best troll here.”