Joel Embiid is playing at a high level right now, taking the Philadelphia 76ers to the 2nd seed of the Eastern Conference standings while dominating the competition with his performances.
The Cameroonian big man, as usual, boasts huge confidence in his game and has compared himself to big legends that have left a huge mark on the league. While talking about his incredible season, Embiid claimed that he tries to emulate what other players did before him, and is even inspired by some big names like Shaquille O'Neal, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and others.
“I mean, yeah, at times whenever I want I’m able to be Shaq,” Embiid told reporters a couple of weeks ago, in the wake of his 50-point game. "And you know whenever I want I’m also able to be Dirk, Kobe, or MJ, or any guard really. Meaning shooting off the dribble pulls-up or ballhandling. Just a combination of everything offensively so, you know, I was OK tonight.”
Shaq reacted to those comments, admitting he's not convinced as Embiid is. Talking with Emily Bicks of Heavy, he gave flowers to the big man but stated that he can't be Shaq or any of the players he mentioned in that interview.
“Joel is a bright player who is very confident in his game. He knows he can’t just become Shaq, Dirk, Kobe or MJ at any time but I take nothing away from him. Kid can ball. He’s an all-star that will be around for a while.”
O'Neal is a big fan of Embiid, and regardless of his recent remarks, he's very high on the Sixers' center. Last week, he called Embiid the 'baddest guy' in the league, endorsing him for the coveted award.
The comparisons between these big men won't stop happening, and even Danny Green believes there are similarities between his current and former teammate. Even though Shaq isn't convinced of what Embiid claimed, the big man has been inspired by these all-time greats before and after he made it to the league.
He's a serious MVP candidate now and can start writing his story as another all-time great center just like Shaq. He's on the right path and the sky's the limit for Embiid's and his great moment.