Joel Embiid is having a season for the ages, as the Philadelphia 76ers star is arguably the frontrunner to grab the MVP award this season. Embiid has been a monster all season, dominating on both ends of the floor and carrying the Sixers in their fight for the top spot in the Eastern Conference despite the Ben Simmons saga unfolding on the side.
It's hard to imagine the NBA without Embiid these past few seasons, the big man has been elite and injuries are the only thing that has stopped his push to be considered the best in the league. That's hardly a new story for Embiid though, his first few seasons in the NBA were littered with serious injuries. And the big man has now opened up on how hard that was for him, revealing that he almost retired (via kywnewsradio).
"Going back to Cameroon, I really wanted to stop playing basketball and retire, because at that point, you just have surgery and everybody's talking about you're not gonna make it or you never gonna play in the league, and obviously, the loss of my brother was a was big. I wanted to give up and I almost did,” Embiid recollected.
"Basically you miss two years in a row and all these stories coming out every single day -- Joel is, whatever, 300 pounds -- and the media always talking down on you. It was tough. I had to go through a lot. It was very tough, but, I'm glad I just kept pushing through with the help of everybody around me. I'm just glad. I'm happy to be here."
Embiid was picked 3rd overall by the Philadelphia 76ers but didn't play a single game in the first two seasons in the league thanks to a foot injury that simply didn't heal as it was expected to. Embiid has never played more than 64 games in a regular season in the NBA and injuries have been a recurring theme.
His talent is undeniable though, and he looks set to cross the 64-game mark this season for the Sixers. While it's tough for any athlete to deal with so many setbacks at a young age, Embiid has repeatedly shown mental fortitude to recover from those during his time in the NBA. His story is inspiring for many and could be of particular interest to another young superstar that has struggled with injuries in Zion Williamson.