Sunday night’s game was important for Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid. For the rest of the Sixers roster, it was just another regular season game in December. For Embiid, he had the opportunity to join a legendary company as he was on his way to scoring 7,000 career points. And Embiid became one of only two players in Sixers history to do so in his first 300 career games.
Everyone knows Allen Iverson. The former Sixers’ top pick and the NBA Hall of Fame were the first Sixers to score 7,000 points in their first 300 games with the 76ers. Embiid became the second to do so on Sunday night in Philadelphia’s big win over the Washington Wizards.
“It’s awesome,” Embiid said after the game, discussing his milestone.
While Embiid is obviously excited to join an elite company and continue to make history within the Sixers organization, the great man was almost disappointed that he hadn’t been able to. do it faster because of all the setbacks he suffered throughout his career.
“Obviously I would like to be healthier,” he continued. “I probably would have had at least 15,000 points by now. It’s great, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to always improve every day, so we have a chance to win the championship. “
Think about your support system
Embiid’s journey to the NBA is quite different from that of many peers. As most NBA players have been basketball players their entire lives, Embiid resumed the game late. Embiid imagined that volleyball would be the only sport he played professionally while in high school. But then basketball came into his life and he made the most of the opportunity that presented itself.
“When I came to the United States, my goal was really to use this opportunity to get some kind of scholarship and a degree so that I could go home and get something out of it,” Embiid explained. “I never knew. I mean, you started playing basketball when you were 16. For me, it was like I never really had the chance to do it.”
Although Embiid was initially oblivious to the success he could potentially achieve, those who saw potential in him from the start kept him motivated so that he could stay on track and achieve his goal of surrendering. in the NBA.
“I think the thing that has helped me the most, people have believed in me from the start,” Embiid said. “It made me work extremely hard to try and improve myself every day so as not to reach the league because at that point I always felt that I was not good enough even when I arrived. in college. I always thought there wasn’t. the way I did it. The fact that people believed in me and that I went to college, that’s what I wanted to, honestly. I kind of took this opportunity to get a degree and go work somewhere else and earn some money for my family. never imagined. “
It may have taken a while for the Sixers’ center to believe in the vision, but now there is more than enough evidence that Embiid could end his basketball career being recognized as one of the greatest, especially in Philadelphia. As he was one of the top picks in 2014 and landed several maximum contracts with the 76ers, Embiid has already established himself as one of the best centers in the NBA today. Now he’s on his way to becoming one of the best in franchise and NBA history.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.