Joel Embiid Cites Watching Kobe Bryant, Lakers In 2009 NBA Finals As Inspiration To Play Basketball
Nathaniel S. Butler-NBAE

Joel Embiid, the third pick in the 2014 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, has had some issues staying on the court due to injuries. But in his two seasons played so far, he has proven why he was drafted so highly.

SHOP NOW: CHECK OUT THE LATEST MERCH 🔥🔥🔥

Embiid has the potential to be a superstar in this league for years to come. In just 94 career regular season games, Embiid has consistently impressed. In just his second year, Embiid was named as a starter to the All-Star Team, starting at center for Team LeBron James.

With someone of Embiid’s caliber, being so talented so early in his career, it’s easy to assume that basketball had always been a part of his plan. However, in Embiid’s recent Players Tribune article, he reveals that basketball wasn’t in his future until 2009, when he was a 15-year-old in Cameroon.

Embiid explained how watching Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers play the Orlando Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals made him fall in love with the game and want to become an NBA player, via Players Tribune:

The first time I ever watched an NBA game was the 2009 Finals. Lakers vs. Magic. Dwight. Pau. Odom. KOBE. I had never seen anything like that. I was watching those dudes shoot like 100% from the floor. Everything was going in. The way they moved, and the athleticism, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I had that moment like, I just wanna do that. I begged my mom and dad. I begged for a year. My dad was like, “Nobody in Cameroon plays basketball. You can play volleyball.” I’m like, “Yo, volleyball?”

Watching Embiid now, it’s even crazier to think he didn’t even start playing basketball until 2009. And, like many young NBA players, Bryant being one of his inspirations to play is nothing surprising.

Bryant dominated the NBA from 2007-2010, so any young aspiring basketball player who watched the NBA during that time was likely mesmerized by his ability to score at will no matter what the situation.

Of course, Embiid is still early in his career, but if he continues to play at the level he’s been playing, there’s no doubt he could dominate the NBA, just as Bryant did, and become one of the league’s best players one day.

Are you following us on Instagram? We’ve changed our handle to @LakersNationOfficial! Find us on Facebook at @LakersNation, and on Twitter @LakersNation.

You May Also Like

Lakers News: Lakers Have Contacted Phil Jackson For Coaching Job

According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles times, they’ve made contact!…

Lakers Podcast: Tanking Troubles, Trading Draft Picks, & Why Luke Walton Is A Star

The Los Angeles Lakers are coming down the home stretch of a difficult season, and their tanking efforts to secure a top draft pick aren’t exactly going according to plan…

Lakers Draft News: Josh Jackson’s Agent Says ‘Too Early’ To Tell If L.A. Will Select His Client

The 2017 NBA Draft is less than two weeks away. The Los Angeles Lakers, who own the No. 2 pick in the draft, haven’t ruled out prospects or possibilities with their selection, including the chance they take Josh Jackson out of Kansas…

Lakers News: Kobe Bryant On If He Will Play In Final Nine Games

Heading into the 2015-16 NBA season, one of the top priorities was for Kobe Bryant to play his final game for the Los Angeles Lakers on April 13 against the Utah Jazz…