A Perfect Match | Embiid, Sixers Agree to Multiyear Contract Extension
What a movie it would be, indeed.
Early Tuesday morning, Joel Embiid signed a multi-year contract extension with the 76ers, marking a long-term commitment to his city.
It’s a commitment he hopes will endure long beyond the confines of the contract.
“I want to finish my career in Philly, so this is an opportunity for me to realize that dream,” Embiid said Tuesday morning. “I’m just thankful to be here.”
Coming off an MVP-caliber season, the 27-year-old four-time All-Star reflected on his journey - one that started just over a decade ago.
“I wasn’t even supposed to play basketball,” Embiid recalls. “Starting to play basketball at 16 - it was tough learning. But I’ve always been willing to want to be better, and improve at everything, in everything that I do.
“I always like to say my life is a movie, because everything just happened so fast.”
Drafted third overall in 2014, Embiid was sidelined for his first two NBA seasons due to injury.
“My first few years everybody said, probably, I won’t play an NBA game,” Embiid remembers. “And sometimes, I did kind of believe in it - but I still stayed focused on the work I put in every day.”
That work has paid off. Embiid’s star has risen quickly, and consistently.
After the 2016-17, Embiid was named to the All-Rookie First Team.
He’s been an All-Star every season since.
“Watching him the first few years, fighting through injuries, making it happen, and then the leadership he’s showing with our organization now - I’m so appreciative he’s going to spend the rest, at least six years, but hopefully the rest, of his career with Philly,” 76ers Managing Partner Josh Harris said Tuesday.
Embiid’s extension comes following his best season in the NBA - averaging 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game in the 2020-21 campaign.
Embiid led the league in free throw attempts (10.7) and free throws made (9.2) per game. His 28.5 points per game was the fourth-best scoring average in the league, and his 10.6 rebounds were twelfth-best.
He finished second in the MVP race.
“Here [he is], if not the best, one of the very elite players in the NBA,” Harris said. “This is an incredible day for the franchise.”
Embiid is also keenly aware of what his extended presence means for his city, and his fans:
“The fans - they already know how I feel about them. I love them. We have a great relationship. There’s not much I can say because they’ve supported me through ups and downs.”
Since 2014, Philadelphia has been home for Embiid. Now, he sees the city playing an irreplaceable role in many years ahead.
“I’ve always had this one dream - to play for one city. Philly and me - I’ve always thought that we’re a perfect match. They care, they’re passionate. I love them, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Hopefully, we all keep working on that goal all together, and it is to win a championship first, and then we’re going to talk about more.”