Joel Embiid reacts to Team LeBron, Team Giannis’ draft selection
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) February 8, 2019
The Sixers center was picked by team captain Giannis Antetokounmpo with his second selection, the fourth pick overall. Later in the draft, Antetokounmpo and opposing captain LeBron James pulled off the first trade in the two-year history of the All-Star Draft. In the deal, Team Giannis sent Ben Simmons to Team LeBron for Russell Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook and Joel Embiid have a history of not exactly getting along. Their feud began in December of 2017 in a game between the Thunder and Sixers when Embiid waved Oklahoma City center Steven Adams back to the bench after fouling out. After the Thunder beat the Sixers, Westbrook returned the favor to Embiid, waving him back into the locker room.
The next month, when the two teams met again, Embiid made headlines for dunking over Westbrook and staring him down afterwards. In last year’s All-Star Game, the two were on opposing teams, and Embiid kept the rivalry going, draining a three over Westbrook and blocking his lay-up in transition.
This season, tempers flared once again when the two teams met in January. Westbrook took offense to a hard foul by Embiid late in the fourth quarter and tried to go after him. Both had choice words following the game, per Michael Kaskey-Blomain of CBS Sports:
When asked if he and Embiid were “cool”, Westbrook had a quick – and explicit answer.
“F**k no,” he said.
For what it’s worth, Embiid didn’t seem to quite understand why Westbrook was so angry.
“I think I was going for the ball, and I think he lost the ball, but I was already in the air,” Embiid said. “I don’t know why he was mad. I have no idea … but he’s always in his feelings.”
Now, for the first time, the two will be teammates. All eyes will be on the pair to see if they carry their feud into the All-Star Game.
The 2019 NBA All-Star Game will be held in Charlotte on February 17. The game will air at 8:00 PM EST on TNT.