Although his NBA career took a long time to get started, Joel Embiid stands today as one of the very best players in the league. According to him, he was however close to abandoning this project in 2013… after suffering a murderous poster!
Unlike some of his prestigious counterparts on whom fate always seemed to smile, he had to overcome many obstacles before obtaining the status he possesses today. Before rolling over the competition and making its law reign in the paint, Joel Embiid indeed followed a path strewn with pitfalls. Some have thus slowed down his progress… and could even have cost him his illustrious career.
The forgotten player who traumatized Joel Embiid
Drafted in 2014 by the 76ers, Embiid had to wait two full seasons before making his NBA debut. The fault of a foot injury which has regularly plunged him into doubt. In parallel with this long stay in the infirmary, the pivot has already admitted to having thought of retiring following a family tragedy. A reflection that he had even carried out a year earlier, in the NCAA, as he admits in The Players’ Tribune :
“My very first scrimmage at Kansas, I got dunked on so hard by Tarik Black that I almost quit. Tarik dunked on me so hard that I was looking at plane tickets home.”
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) February 22, 2023
During my very first practice in Kansas, I got dunked so hard by Tarik Black that I almost quit basketball. Tarik dunked me so hard, I started looking for plane tickets to get home.
Author of a fairly anonymous stint in the NBA, Black was then finishing his university course with the Jayhawks, and was obviously very close to depriving the league of one of its biggest current stars.
Upset to suffer such humiliation on his first day in the team, Embiid questioned everything, and for a moment considered abandoning his plans for the future. It must be said that the context of this scene was enough to destroy it:
He dunked the ball over my head, for real. But I haven’t even told you the worst part of this whole story. Worst of all, the entire Kansas women’s team was in the stands watching practice. The whole room laughed at me. It was crazy.
Fortunately, JoJo was able to pull himself together quickly, and subsequently experienced the trajectory that now makes him a permanent candidate for the title of MVP!
Today on the roof of the NBA, Joel Embiid could have never known it… because of Tarik Black and his huge poster dunk. Like what, the career of a future big player can really switch on a relatively harmless event!