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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Don’t ruin a golden era of Philadelphia sports


Last week Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers shushed his home fans. If you’re a good lip reader, he appeared to tell the crowd to “shut the f— up.” Its aftermath brought outrage.

Embiid’s gesture was likely in response to fans as well as local and national media repeatedly voicing their displeasure with the Sixers and more specifically, Embiid’s effort and the results he has produced.

Maybe he was right. Shut up. Enjoy what’s happening. Enjoy the most prolific era of Philadelphia sports in your lifetime and in the near future.

Enjoy Embiid and all of the antics that come along with him. Enjoy Carson Wentz and his development into an NFL superstar. Enjoy having the most eccentric baseball player in years, Bryce Harper, embracing the city of Philadelphia like no other athlete has.

Leave the criticisms of immaturity up to those that don’t understand the comic ingenuity of Embiid’s social media presence. Let ESPN personality Max Kellerman die on the hill that Wentz has “regressed” over the past year.

Leave the baseless criticism to the people who get paid to have takes that create headlines. I’m not saying don’t be critical of our athletes, because that’s what Philadelphia fans do best. Rather, embrace them the way they have embraced you, because they don’t have to.

Sixers fans have convinced themselves that, because of their high standards for their team, they’ve “bullied” them into a league best 25-2 home record, as opposed to their 9-19 away record. There may be a bit of truth to this. As fans we have a little more power than we think.

We have the power to perpetuate the narrative that Embiid can’t play along with his co-star Ben Simmons. This has materialized in the form of ESPN and Bleacher Report reports that “NBA Execs [are] Preparing for 76ers to Possibly Deal” Embiid. No, there is no direct cause and effect between how we treat our star players and their future here, but it is a factor.

How would you feel playing day in and day out, putting your body on the line, only to be booed by your home crowd? Sure, you can argue that we expect better play on the court, but I think it’s a little bigger than that. Embiid has embraced this city and its people from the time he stepped on the court.

The Cameroonian has somehow morphed himself into a Philadelphian. He was seen running through the streets of Philly like Rocky, playing tennis in Center City and playing pickup basketball with strangers. Those strangers have one thing in common with Embiid: they are part of the Philadelphia community. Embiid truly meant it when, following his scrap with Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, he said “I was built for this city and they were built for me.”

Embiid’s now infamous Feb. 10 Instagram post captioned, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain” helped me come to a sort of epiphany. In the comments, former Sixer Jimmy Butler wrote, “I know a place where villains are welcome,” speaking, we can only assume, of his new home Miami, to which Embiid responded, “Damn right my brother.” My realization: how did we, as Philadelphians, get lucky enough to have Embiid on our side? And why would we ever risk villainizing him?

As much as he may have been joking, Embiid should want to go to Miami. Beautiful weather, a social scene that would welcome his larger-than-life personality, and not to mention they’re currently in front of the Sixers in the Eastern Conference Standings.

But no, Embiid responded to his polarizing post on Instagram with a tweet reading, “Made for this… If I can take it then you can too. PHILA TOUGH!!! #AllLove,” followed by another tweet simply stating, “BROTHERLY LOVE #MyCity.” And, as much as we may be reluctant to admit it, this is his city.

As much as we may nitpick his game and convince ourselves he doesn’t want to be here, he does. So let’s not run a local treasure out of town.

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