The power of social media can’t be overstated. Joel Embiid, center for the Philadelphia 76ers, recently discovered, when he posted on Instagram, just how easy it is to start an online controversy.
What was the post? Why are 76er fans losing their minds? What was Joel Embiid’s post really about it?
Joel Embiid’s controversial Instagram post
In a recent game against the Chicago Bulls, Embiid hushed the home crowd. An online debate began as a result and Joel Embiid posted on Instagram to make fun of it.
Using a line uttered by Harvey Dent in the 2008 film The Dark Knight, the post read “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” #TheProcess
Embiid would explain later that the shush had been more for himself than the crowd. If he’d let the post stand without comments, things would have probably settled down quickly.
That’s not what happened.
Former Sixers player Jimmy Butler commented then saying “I know a place where villains are welcome.” Embiid responded to that saying “Damn right my brother.”
The controversy might not have flared as it did if the 76ers were in a better place. According to the Philly Voice, it wasn’t 24 hours before the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers got the chance to comment on the social media firestorm. Brett Brown, who claims to steer clear of social media, said maybe the situation wasn’t ideal. But it was Joel.
Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler was familiar with the Harvey Dent quote and used it in an Instagram post of his own back in 2018. According to NBC Sports, Butler talked to NBA TV in Chicago at All-Star Weekend saying his motivation for the comment on Embiid’s post was the fact they were going to play together on Team Giannis in the NBA All-Star game. Butler explained that he didn’t see Embiid as a player for another team. He considers Embiid his brother.
Embiid was explaining his posts and the shushing incident as well. Embiid said if you’re gonna boo, someone will shush you. He said both sides need to be okay with it. He was quick to say that he understood where the fans were coming from and he knew that they “had his back.”
The All-Star Game was the fifth for Butler who went to the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade deal in the off-season. Butler sounded confident about potentially facing the 76ers in the playoffs. The Heat are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and ahead of the 76ers. He said the Heat were “gonna win.”
Relationship with the city of Philadelphia
As the 76ers navigate through the playoffs, it would be preferable for the story to fade into the background. They don’t need the distraction.
Still, questions remain about Joel Embiid. No one can deny he’s a great player. When he had good lineups around him and he was fully engaged, he’s every inch the player that won over skeptical die-hard 76er fans. Their defense is elite with him in it. When it comes to post-ups, he’s hard to beat.
The lack of focus has been a team-wide problem this year and not just a problem for Embiid. The 76ers have struggled in their away games and lost several games to teams they should have easily defeated.
Being offensively-challenged, lack of focus is something they can’t afford. But many times this season they’ve turned in less than their best efforts.
Brown has a different view of Embiid than the public at large. He would know better than anyone Embiid’s personal level of dedication and effort behind the scenes.
Brown fully supports his player. When asked if Embiid takes the leading role on the team as seriously as he should, Brown was giving examples. 76ers fans are now hoping that the team’s focus is on one thing — winning an NBA championship.