In an interview with the Players Tribune, Joel Embiid disclosed how he was taught to shoot the basketball. Joel Embiid picked up the game of basketball as a teenager. Feeling like he was behind the eight ball developmentally in terms of basketball, he thought he would be up to par if he stole some tips from his White counterparts.
“So I’m chilling one night, and I go on YouTube, and I’m thinking I’m about to figure this shooting thing out. I go to the search box like…. HOW TO SHOOT 3 POINTERS. Nah. HOW TO SHOOT GOOD FORM, Nah. Then the light bulb went off, man. I typed in the magic words. WHITE PEOPLE SHOOTING 3 POINTERS.” Embiid told the Tribune.
Very comical, yet factual in his articulation, he explained why he choose to learn from White people. “Listen, I know it’s a stereotype” Embiid said, “But have you ever seen a normal, 30-year-old white guy shoot a three-pointer? That elbow is tucked, man. The knees are bent. The follow-through is perfect. Always.”
He’s not wrong. They say White men can’t jump, but they damn sure can shoot. Along the likes of Caucasian greats like Kyle Korver, J.J. Reddick, and Hall of Famer Larry Bird, Joel Embiid wanted to be in that conversation. So to Embiid, it made perfect sense to learn the mechanics from the masters. However there was one problem. He could not watch any NBA games growing up in Central Africa.
“The reason I couldn’t watch the NBA is because my mom was super, super strict about school. She didn’t play around. I could never stay up to watch the games.” Embiid explained. “The first time I ever watched an NBA game was the 2009 Finals. Lakers vs. Magic. Dwight. Pau. Odom. KOBE.”
After the 2009 finals Embiid was hooked! He officially had ‘hoop dreams’. “I had never seen anything like that. I was watching those dudes shoot like 100% from the floor. Everything was going in. The way they moved, and the athleticism, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.” Embiid said.
But in his collegiate days, Embiid was just a centimeter away from not becoming the MVP caliber player we know him to be today, and almost gave up on his hoop dreams…after he got dunked on.
“My very first scrimmage at Kansas, I got dunked on so hard by Tarik Black that I almost quit. Tarik dunked on me so hard that I was looking at plane tickets home.” Embiid told the Tribune. ” The worst part was that the entire Kansas women’s hoops team was sitting in the bleachers watching the scrimmage. The whole gym was laughing at me. It was crazy. Seriously, it was like a WORLDSTAR situation.”
In his attempt to quit basketball, his coach at the time, Bill Self, told him ‘In two years you’re going to be a #1 overall pick.’ He ended up being the #3 pick in the 2014 NBA draft but with his current production, the cavaliers wished they would have picked him #1 overall.
Today he is averaging 33 points, 10 rebounds, shooting 54% from the field, and his the current frontrunner for the 2023 Kia MVP award.
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Joel Embiid Learned to Shoot by Searching ‘White People Shooting 3 Pointers’ was originally published on rnbphilly.com