Orlando Dodged a Joel Embiid Twitter Bullet
The Philadelphia 76ers already have a star on their hands in Joel Embiid. Not a basketball star, but one of the social media variety. The 3rd overall selection from June hasn’t stepped on a court in months and he’s already the most popular NBA rookie as the ‘MVP of Twitter’. Joel has grabbed plenty of attention via his Twitter account. From hitting on a married woman, to making USA soccer fans angry, to recruiting LeBron James then blocking him on Twitter, to having an obsession with Rihanna that would get your average man smacked in the face with a restraining order. But it’s good entertainment for fans and basketball media who have a sense of humor towards embarrassing situations. It’s hilarious, except for his employer. I can’t imagine what the Sixers’ public relations folks are feeling every time Joel is sending out a tweet.
It’s something that I’m sure the Magic are beyond glad they won’t have to deal with. It’s been 3 years since Gilbert Arenas went through a vast amount of Twitter shenanigans while a member of the Orlando Magic. It got ugly with ‘Agent Zero’ and his public backlash until he deleted his Twitter account. Everyone considered Gilbert a hilarious human being including myself. Plus, I once won one of his sneaker giveaway contests. Joel’s not at the level that Gilbert’s tweeting reached. Not yet anyway. There’s no dislike for Embiid on my end. If you have the testicular fortitude to put yourself out there with little worry for tweeting repercussions, good for you. I can appreciate a good Maury joke. Just know that even though you’re already financially secure for life, you have to keep the people and the organization you represent somewhere in the back of your mind constantly. You don’t have to be that public to get a celebrity to notice you. Plus, it smells of desperation for any and all sorts of attention.
I have no doubt that once the Kansas Jayhawk product fully heals from his foot surgery that he can become the best player from the 2014 Draft class. But the 7-footer may not even play a minute of the 2014-2015 season. Funny and controversial tweets can turn a popular tweeter into an infamous figure quickly if you anger enough folks. Just look at his tweets from this week. He’s calling out another female musical performer’s “trash” music video, proclaiming himself already as an MVP, shared his aspirations to become a future president, and used a picture of Andrew Wiggins to talk about nude direct messaging. Come on, guy. Some of it is harmless, even insightful on occasion, but someone needs to hire Joel a social networking specialist. Confidence can turn into craziness really quickly. Save the swag for the court.
I look back on June 25th – the night before the Draft – when Embiid had a Twitter slip-up. The man from Cameroon tweeted that he was a Los Angeles Laker, then quickly deleted it and blamed it on a friend and then fumed at the sub-tweet backlash. Friends prank us all of the time. Completely understandable. That tweet above though isn’t the ideal attitude I want from a player who is supposed to transform my franchise in exchange for millions of dollars from my bank account. If you can’t take Twitter criticism from a bunch of random people, what happens when NBA adversity hits you?
All of this is a non-issue for Magic fans because Philly took Embiid third instead of Dante Exum. Then Orlando drafted what seems to be a very mature 18-year-old in Aaron Gordon, followed by acquiring a seemingly mature 20-year-old in Elfrid Payton. That’s been GM Rob Hennigan’s style since taking over in the summer of 2012. Going into draft night it was rumored that the Magic were ’50/50′ on Aaron and Joel as to who they would draft 4th overall. If I’m thinking it over that deeply, a pretty good tiebreaker would be ‘Okay, which of these two guys is least likely to harm our team’s public image?’ Being ‘bland’ or ‘safe’ on social networks prevailed in the case of Aaron and Elfrid. All of their youthful excitement and energy will hopefully be saved for the parquet floor.
‘Will Joel Embiid get fined by the NBA before he plays a second in a regular season game?’
That should be a Vegas bet line. Joel Embiid likes people to ‘come slide into his DMs’. He may need to get used to sliding checks into the NBA’s mailbox. All of his talent may not be worth the hassle. Until he proves otherwise, Orlando was wise to not seek Joel’s basketball services.