Joel Embiid is trying to make the best of his team’s bad offseason situation.
The Philadelphia 76ers center told ESPN on Sunday the tweets Bryan Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, wrote about him were hurtful but he’s using them as motivation to improve his game. Bottini at times described Embiid as “a bit lazy,” “selfish,” and “acting like a tool.” Embiid initially reacted to them with humor, but two-plus months of reflection have produced a different response.
“It was hurtful because of the stuff that was said in those tweets,” Embiid said. “But at the end of the day, I know who I am as a person, as a player. And I know a lot of people, they’re always telling me I’m great but I have a lot of stuff to work on. And actually, I appreciated everything that was said about me because if it was true – even if it wasn’t – that stays in my mind.
“And it makes me want to get better. The stuff where they were saying I wasn’t happy, that makes me want to work harder on my body. Or if they’re saying that I couldn’t do anything, it makes me want to work harder and get better. So, actually, I love it. I appreciated it. It was great. It was great for my game.”
Colangelo resigned in June as Sixers president of basketball operations after a team investigation revealed Bottini used burner Twitter accounts to bash players and defend her husband.
Embiid emerged last season as an NBA force. If only criticism he reads fuels his motivation, the rest of the league should beware of what he’ll do in 2018-19.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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