In these last few years, the city of Philadelphia has experienced a basketball reniassance. In 2018, the 76ers made it to the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2012, and have seemed to be heading in the right direction under a promising, young squad who seem to hold a great deal of potential. At the forefront of this team is the superstar himself, Cameroonian sensation Joel Embiid. Although the 76ers encountered troubled waters in between 2012 and 2018, Embiid has fully embraced the true essence of how patience really is a virtue. Now, his team is at a championship caliber level.
Joel Embiid was born on March 16th, 1994 in Yaoundé (the capital of Cameroon) to Thomas Embiid and his wife, Christine. He grew up as the oldest child of three, and was at first encouraged by his parents to work in the medical field. However, Embiid himself was focused on playing professional volleyball in Europe, until he was motivated by another fellow African athlete: Hakeem Olajuwon. When he was fifteen years old, Embiid decided to pave a new path, this time in basketball, and enrolled at a camp hosted by Luc Mbah a Moute. Being an NBA player himself, Mbah a Moute was impressed with Embiid’s talents, and allowed the doors of opportunity to open all around him. One of these doors included the chance to play in the United States, at the Montverde Academy in Florida. He would later transfer to The Rock School in Gainesville. After his high school years, Embiid committed to the University of Kansas in 2013. In just one year, Embiid would leave an everlasting imprint, being a finalist for the Naismith College Player of the Year. Although he did not receive the award, Embiid found himself as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. From there, the success just kept growing.
After playing only one year at Kansas, Embiid declared for the 2014 NBA Draft. He was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the third overall pick, which was the highest draft pick a Cameroonian had been selected in the history of the NBA. Embiid would miss the first two seasons of his professional career due to a foot injury and its gradual recovery. However on October 26th, 2016, Embiid finally made his official debut in front of the Philadelphia faithful. He scored 20 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and blocked 2 shots; all in 25 minutes in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The following two seasons, Embiid found much more success, as he integrated his talents with higher caliber athletes, and now was in a position to compete for an NBA championship. Although he has come up short in the playoffs these last two years, it appears “the process” is not yet complete for Joel Embiid until he wins it all, and he is now in a position more than ever to do so.