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Joel Embiid almost quit basketball after his younger brother, Arthur, was hit by a truck and killed six years ago in Cameroon. The two were best friends growing up, so the sudden loss hit Embiid hard.

When Embiid and his girlfriend, Anne De Paula, had their first son on Friday, there was no question of what he was going to be named. Embiid honored his late brother the best way he knew how by naming his son Arthur.

Joel Embiid and his brother Arthur were best friends growing up

Growing up in Cameroon, Embiid’s best friend was his brother, Arthur. The two did everything together. Embiid even skipped the first day of a prestigious basketball camp to play video games with his little bro.

In 2014, four months after Embiid was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, he received the worst phone call of his life. Arthur had been struck by a truck and killed while walking home from school. It was the toughest day of Embiid’s life, and he almost lost his love of basketball in the coming weeks and months.

Embiid almost quit basketball after his brother’s death

In a Players Tribune piece titled ‘The Only Way Is Through,’ Embiid explained the effect Arthur’s death had on him as a player and as a person. He said he nearly quit basketball before he even played an NBA game.

I really had to look inside myself to find that joy again. Every single morning, when I woke up, I would tell myself that I had a choice. I could give up, or I could keep trying to take another step forward. I really had to remind myself why I loved the game in the first place. Not that long ago, we were just some skinny kids messing around at the park in the middle of Cameroon — hiding from our mom, trying not to do our homework. It wasn’t serious. It wasn’t even a dream. We were just having fun. So I just pushed on. A lot of days, it sucked. A lot of days, I just wanted to get on a flight back home. I wanted to quit, but I just kept putting in the work every day for two years to try to get healthy, to try to get better, to try to take one step onto an NBA court. I felt like if I did that, then my brother would be really proud of me.

Joel Embiid

Embiid has surely made his brother proud with the player he’s become, and now he’s honored Arthur in the best way he knew how.

Embiid honored Arthur by naming his first son after him

On Friday, Embiid and his longtime girlfriend announced the birth of their first son. There was no question of what he was going to be named. It had to be Arthur.

“Arthur Elijah De Paula Embiid. We are so blessed and fortunate to welcome our little boy in this family. First of 11 or more? Trying to convince her but I’m not winning so far. I’m just trying to build a soccer team but for real I’m so excited for the future and my life has a new meaning. Kudos to Anne De Paula for being so strong and giving me the Greatest Gift our life can offer #GodisGood,” Embiid said on Instagram.

Arthur might no longer be here, but his memory will now forever live on through Embiid’s son.


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