The SportsRush | “Going back to Cameroon, I really wanted to stop playing basketball and really retire”: Joel Embiid talks about his initial career struggles of dealing with injuries and the loss of his brother
Sixers big man Joel Embiid reveals he had thought of quitting basketball even before making his NBA debut.
Joel Embiid is one of the current favorites to win the MVP this season. The Cameroon native has entered the conversation of all-time centers in the NBA. In what many believe, Embiid is the modern-day version of Hakeem Olajuwon. The Philly center can dominate, shoot, defend, and has impressive footwork.
Embiid has been the sole engine for his team this season, taking the reigns amid the Ben Simmons controversy. The Sixers are currently the 3rd in the eastern conference, with Embiid breaking records with his performances on a nightly basis.
Joel Embiid is the first Sixer to be voted for 5 straight All Star game starts since Allen Iverson
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) February 21, 2022
The seven-foot center is currently averaging 29.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.4 BPG, shooting 49.5% from the field. Embiid has already established himself as one of the greatest players to wear the Sixers uniform, joining the ranks of Wilt Chamberlain and Allen Iverson.
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However, things weren’t as hunky-dory during the initial years of his career in the league. Embiid had his NBA debut delayed by two seasons due to injury. His brother’s death made things worse, almost forcing him to quit basketball.
Joel Embiid gives an insight into early-year struggles.
Though Embiid is currently at the peak of his career, earning praise from everywhere. However, things weren’t the same during his initial years as a pro player. The Sixers drafted Embiid as the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, Embiid couldn’t play his 1st two seasons in the NBA.
The 27-year old’s foot injuries and their setbacks prevented him from participating in the 1st two seasons of the NBA. The rehab time had a significant impact on Embiid, taking a toll on him mentally. His brother Arthur’s death in a 2014 crash only made things worse.
During the recent All-Star break, Embiid reflected on his journey, saying the following.
“Going back to Cameroon, I really wanted to stop playing basketball and really retire because at that point, you just have surgery and everybody’s talking about you’re not gonna make it or you never gonna play in the league. And obviously, the loss of my brother was big, I wanted to give up and I almost did,” Embiid recollected.
“Basically you miss two years in a row and all these stories coming out every single day — Joel is, whatever, 300 pounds — and the media always talking down on you. It was tough. I had to go through a lot. It was very tough, but, I’m glad I just kept pushing through with the help of everybody around me. I’m just glad. I’m happy to be here.”
Embiid’s injury-prone nature is no secret, but the Sixers big man has always managed to bounce back thus far. His journey is truly inspiring, overcoming all odds to achieve the American Dream.
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If you ask any athlete, rehab time is a nightmare for them. Unlike other professions, there are only a few years of prime in a sports player’s career, and he wants to maximize his potential.