Joel Embeiid
Joel Embeiid

Cameroonian Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embeiid will make the third NBA Africa tour this year after missing last year’s edition due to injury.

So who is Joel?

Joel is a member of the 2018 All-NBA and 2018 All-Defesnive Team. He will be making his debut at the NBA Africa Game.

He was injured last season when he first got the call, just like his first season in the NBA but is ready to make the long-awaited splash on the continent.

He is a Basketball Without Borders alum after all.

Embiid is not your regular or average player, and this is not about his play on the basketball court or his fit with his teammates.

The 24-year-old, who stands out with his 7-foot frame, also makes himself visible in other ways – mostly via his huge presence on social media. And that is no pun on his size or the size of his followership.

Embiid fears no one on the floor – he constantly teases and riles the big men he comes up against, and that translates into his social-media pages.

Who else can taunt LeBron James after yet another of his newsy moves? Embiid asked the King if he would like to change his mind and choose the Sixers, when news emerged that DeMarcus Cousins had reportedly become the fifth All-Star on the roster of the Golden State Warriors, eclipsing the news of LeBron’s move to the Lakers.

He even warned that the Lakers will forever be seen as the team of Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant.

That is what Embiid will bring to the NBA Africa Game: the penchant to walk a road other players may fear to tread. And Team World better be ready … Embiid will school them on the floor and troll them off it.

And he has the tools to do both.

On the way to his first All-Star season, Embiid averaged 22.9 points per game, recording 38 double-doubles in the 63 games he played. And to be considered for the All-Defensive Team, and be nominated as one of the top-three Defensive Player of the Year candidates, he averaged 11.0 rebounds and tallied 1.8 blocks per game.

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And his regular-season 3.7 assists per game average, ranking him third among centers, added to his league-best 3.0 postseason average that led all big men and meant that he is as potent without the ball as he is with the rock in his hands.

In his first season on the floor Embiid posted numbers that, when scrunched into per 36 minutes, ranked with that of the greatest players ever to play the game.

The Cameroonian has been compared to Hakeem Olajuwon—the Nigerian great who redefined the center position—because of his many post moves that mimic the Hall of Famer. Olajuwon gave fans a brief glimpse of his greatness at the first NBA Africa Game. Now it’s time for Africa to witness greatness in its current form and the man to show that is Joe Embiid.

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