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Joel Embiid On His Journey To The NBA: "To Me, It Was Like I Never Really Had A Chance To Make It."

Joel Embiid

Over 5 years into his NBA career so far, and Joel Embiid has proven to be among the NBA's best players. His elite defense and amazing scoring abilities have easily made him the face of Sixers basketball.

But it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for the 4x All-Star. Before the stardom, he was just a kid trying to make it and the journey was not easy.

As he explained in a chat with Sports Illustrated, he might not even be in the NBA had he not had people supporting him every step of the way.

"When I came to the states, my goal really was to use this opportunity so I can get some sort of scholarship and some sort of degree so I can go back home and make something out of it," Embiid said. "I never knew. I mean, you start playing basketball at 16. To me, it was like I never really had a chance to make it."

”I think the thing that helped me the most people believed in me from the beginning. That made me work extremely hard to try and get better every single day not to make it to the league because at that point, I always thought I wasn't good enough even when I got to college. I was always thought there was no way I was making it. The fact that people believed in me and I got to college, that's what I wanted, honestly. I kinda used that opportunity to get a degree and go work somewhere else and make some money for my family. I would have never imagined."

Even when he got to the pros, the challenges did not stop.

Coming out of college, it took Embiid several years to play his first game, and, even now, he continues to struggle to stay healthy.

Over the years, the 76ers have been in the mix of contention out East, but repeated exits in the postseason have generated much disappointment for the franchise and their loyal fans.

Ultimately, it falls to Embiid to lead the Sixers to a title, which is a huge task for someone who once thought it impossible to make it that far.

Nevertheless, he seems up for the task and is more grateful than ever for the opportunities he has been afforded.