NBA

'I'm trying to win a f****** title' – 76ers star Joel Embiid

By Sports Desk January 15, 2020

Joel Embiid said "I'm trying to win a f***** title" as the Philadelphia 76ers star craves NBA glory following last season's heartbreaking playoff exit.

The 76ers are championship contenders in 2020 after re-signing Tobias Harris and adding Al Horford and Josh Richardson to a roster headlined by All-Stars Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Embiid is seen as the key to Philadelphia's title hopes and the popular center is hellbent on winning a ring after being left in tears when the 76ers suffered a buzzer-beating defeat to eventual champions the Toronto Raptors in last season's Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Recovering from a finger injury, Embiid – whose 76ers last won a championship in 1982-83 – wrote in The Players' Tribune: "You know, we all came into this year talking about how bad we want a title. We're pretty good at talking, myself included. But it's not enough just to talk it. You gotta walk it. You gotta bring it every single night. And that includes me, too. 

"Listen, I know it sucks that I'm out. Nobody feels worse than me about it. But it's just a finger. It's nothing. Compared to what I've been through, it's nothing man. 

"I'm going to be back. And we're going to get this thing right. And we're going to be a problem in the playoffs, I promise you. But I have to say it now — the one thing I'm not going to do is change who I am as a basketball player. 

"I got nothing but love for the legends of the game like Shaq [Shaquille O'Neal] and Charles [Barkley]. So I respect what they're saying about my game. But I'm never going to be the kind of traditional big like Shaq was in the '90s. You can't go down to the post every single time down the floor and have success in this league. Not in 2020. Not with the way the game has evolved. Not with the way teams double-team now. You have to be able to spread the floor and pass the ball and get buckets all over the court.

"It doesn't matter if you're a guard or a 7-footer, you need to be versatile to win in this league. You need to be unpredictable. Yes, I idolised guys like Dream [Hakeem Olajuwon]. I watched hours and hours of Dream every single day, literally. Everybody knows that story. But you know who I love watching now? KD [Kevin Durant], [James] Harden, even point guards like Steph [Curry] and CP3 [Chris Paul]. For me, that's where the game is the most interesting right now. 

"Above everything, I'm a student of the game. That's the only way I was able to pick it up in such a short amount of time. You can't just be a Big on the block anymore. You need to be a basketball player.

"If we're going to win a title, I gotta be a little bit of Dream, and a little bit of [Allen] Iverson, and a little bit of Kooooobeeeeeeeeeeeeee [Kobe Bryant]. That's the way I'm always going to see myself. 

"And I know you guys on TV want me to score 35 on the block every night. I know it. I hear you. But I gotta be honest with you. This isn't 1995. This is 2020. I'm not working every single day to be the next Dream. There's only one Dream. There's only one Shaq. I'm not trying to be the best Big ever. I'm trying to be the best basketball player in the league, and I really believe I can be that. 

"I'm done with the trash talking and the memes and all that. Once I'm holding that trophy in my hands, maybe I'll be back to my charming self. For now, I got one thing on my mind. I'm not trying to win a debate. I'm trying to win a f***** title."

Related items

  • LeBron James 'p****** off' by MVP snub LeBron James 'p****** off' by MVP snub

    LeBron James made his frustration clear over another MVP near-miss after helping the Los Angeles Lakers take a 1-0 lead in their Western Conference finals showdown with the Denver Nuggets.

    Double-doubles from James and Anthony Davies inspired the top-seeded Lakers to a 126-114 victory in Game 1 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

    Speaking after the match, James made little attempt to hide his contempt for the MVP vote that saw Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo named the NBA's best player for a second consecutive season

    "It p****** me off. That's my true answer," said four-time MVP James, who came in second behind Steve Nash in 2005-06, Kevin Durant in 2013-14 and James Harden in 2017-18.

    "It p****** me off because out of 101 votes I got 16 first-placed votes. That's what pissed me off more than anything.

    "I'm not saying that the winner wasn't worthy of the MVP but that p****** me off.

    "I've finished second a lot in my career, either in a championship or now four times as an MVP.

    "I never came into this league saying I wanted to be an MVP or a champion. I've always just said I want to get better and better every single day and those things will take care of themselves.

    "There are some things out of my hands and some things you can't control. But it p****** me off."

    Davis had no doubt his team-mate deserved greater recognition in the poll

    "He deserves it," he said. "What he's been able to do for our team, the things he's been doing individually, on a consistent basis, night-in, night-out, just it's not even a question who deserves it."

    James was keen to point out he was still happy with the bigger picture the Lakers have mapped out for themselves and ready to toast victory.

    "I mean, I'm fine. Don't get it twisted," he added. "I'm perfectly fine. We're 1-0 in the Western Conference Finals. I'm absolutely fine.

    "I'm absolutely great now. I'm going to go back to my room, drink some wine and sleep very well.

    "I'm great. It's just the voting scale is a little weird to me sometimes."

  • LeBron's Lakers beat Nuggets in Western Conference finals opener LeBron's Lakers beat Nuggets in Western Conference finals opener

    The Los Angeles Lakers drew first blood against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals, winning 126-114 on Friday.

    Led by double-doubles from Anthony Davis and LeBron James, the top-seeded Lakers claimed Game 1 of the NBA playoff series at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

    Davis posted 37 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes for the Lakers, while All-Star team-mate James had 15 points and 12 assists of his own.

    The third-seeded Nuggets became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series twice in the same postseason, having rallied past the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers.

    And they made a promising start, outscoring the Lakers 38-36 in the opening period but that is as good as it got for Jamal Murray's Nuggets.

    The Lakers – back in the Conference finals for the first time since going on to win their last championship in 2010 – outscored the Nuggets 67-41 in the next two periods to move clear and take control of the contest behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Murray and Nikola Jokic, integral to Denver's first trip to the Conference finals since losing to the Lakers in 2009, both scored 21 points apiece.

    Game 2 between the Lakers and Nuggets is on Sunday.

     

    Celtics face Heat

    The Boston Celtics will look to dig themselves out of a 0-2 hole when they meet the red-hot Miami Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday.

  • Giannis: Don't call me MVP until I'm an NBA champion Giannis: Don't call me MVP until I'm an NBA champion

    Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo does not want to be called a two-time MVP until he wins an NBA championship.

    Antetokounmpo was crowned the Most Valuable Player for the second straight year after leading the Bucks to the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the league's best record (56-17) before losing in the semi-finals at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

    The 25-year-old, who averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game during the regular season – became the first player to claim MVP honours in successive seasons since Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry in 2015 and 2016.

    After winning his first MVP award last year, Antetokounmpo said: "Please, after this day don't call me MVP until I win it again next year."

    But with back-to-back MVPs in 2019-20 after receiving 85 of the 101 first-place votes, Antetokounmpo – whose Bucks lost 4-1 to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semi-finals – told TNT on Friday: "Don't call me MVP until I'm a champion."

    Having also been named Defensive Player of the Year, Antetokounmpo is just the third player in league history to win that award and the MVP in the same season, that select list also featuring Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.

    "Obviously, I'm happy for tonight and I'm happy for this award, but I always look forward," Antetokounmpo said. "I always try to figure out, how can I get better? How can I do it again? How can I do it for multiple years to come? How can I be a champion? I'm happy. I'm grateful, but how can I do it again?"

    Milwaukee's failure in the postseason ramped up speculation around Antetokounmpo's future amid talk he could demand a trade.

    Antetokounmpo is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2020-21 season, while he is eligible for a max contract extension worth around $254million this offseason.

    "As long as everybody's fighting for the same thing ... which is to be a champion, I don't see why not to be in Milwaukee for the next 15 years," Antetokounmpo told NBA TV.

    Antetokounmpo reportedly met with the Bucks last week in Milwaukee and he added: "Obviously, I would like to keep that conversation I had with the ownership and my coach and the general manager private, but at the end of the day, every team has got to improve.

    "It's simple. You've got to be better than what you were last year. If you did not win the whole thing, you've got to get better. If you win the whole thing, you've got to get better and do it again. So, for now, our team has got to get better. I think we have great talent and as long as we improve individually and improve as a team we're gonna be in a good spot.

    "I left the meeting encouraged and was happy with what we discussed and for now, we're on the same page. I was happy that they came and we had this long conversation about how we're gonna get better and about things for the future, but, as I said, I was happy.

    "I left the conversation encouraged, but I've been encouraged my whole career in Milwaukee. I know that we've gotten better each year and I know that Milwaukee has great people that view every year the same I do every year, which is to play well, improve and win it all. So, I've always been encouraged, but after the meeting I was encouraged, too."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.