Confident, Delusional, or Just Joel Embiid?

After writing about The Ben Simmons/Joel Embiid Conundrum last night, I had no intention of or inclination to write about the 76ers again quite so soon. But then I was cruising my timeline this morning and was gifted with this little gem:

The phrase that came to mind is one I’ve used in the past for players when they say or do dumb shit. For instance, when Kyrie Irving went ahead and compared himself to MLK. And when DeMarcus Cousins allegedly got himself recorded by his all the way ratchet baby mama threatening her life. It goes something like this:

Oh Joel! Joel, Joel, Joel…

Is Joel Embiid Just Confident?

Joel Embiid

When I posted this and the Belly Up Team weighed in, there was a range of responses. There was more than one sentiment appreciating the confidence. That is not a thing I can get on board with. Confidence like this should come from a belief in one’s abilities…

Hey, I wasn’t finished. I hear you over there saying, “But he obviously is confident in his abilities.” Yeah, I’m aware of that. Can I finish my thought now, please? Geez!

Confidence should come from a belief in one’s abilities AND data to back it up. If Joel Embiid said, he could be the best player in the world or he plans to become the best player in the world I’d be the first to jump on board the, We Love Joel Embiid’s Confidence Train. But that’s not what he said.

And for reference, let’s take a look at other NBA players who have dubiously declared themselves the best on one level or another:

I’m sure there are more and if you think of any, please I’d love to see them in the comments.


My point is this unless your initials are LBJ, MJ, KB, a different MJ, KAJ, etc. you have no business declaring yourself the best in the world. When your initials are JE, you have no rings and no conference finals appearances you really have no business. If you were the best player in the world, Ben Simmons would be deferring to you and taking jumpers or the ‘6ers would be looking to move him. What? To real?

Oh, and let’s not forget, JE, you let a 35-year-old Marc Gasol who’d played more ball than any player in the NBA in the previous 12 months and was not playing or moving well at the time hold you to zero points. If you’re the best player in the world I’m Alicia freaking Keys.

Which leads nicely into my next subheading…


I mean, he must be delusional, right? He can’t actually believe that, can he? With LBJ still putting in work? With reigning NBA MPV Giannis Antetokounmpo being a better player than he was last season? Surely a rational mind would look at the information and come to the conclusion that such a statement simply cannot be true.

Which means Joel Embiid must really not be in a rational frame of mind, right? Right!?

That’s Just Joel Embiid

Maybe it’s not just confidence or more accurately over-confidence. Maybe he’s not delusional. As the colleague that gave me the secondary title for this piece said, maybe it’s, “Not confidence or delusion, that’s just Joel Embiid.”

And you know, I think he may be right. Whether it’s some kind of self-affiirmation that’s taken on a life of it’s own and slipped in to conversations with the media, a la Bruce Willis in Friends

Or just a front he puts on to shield himself from the spotlight and criticism that comes along with being an NBA star…

Declaring himself the best player in the world with no awards or accomplishments to back up the statement? That really is just Joel Embiid.

Follow me on Twitter @auxiliarythings and check out my podcast Hardcourt Hunnies. New episodes drop every Thursday. And if you can’t get enough basketball, check out other NBA articles by the Belly Up Hoops team.

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Jade "Auxiliary Things" Johnson

Jamaican born, Canadian raised lover of NBA basketball. Growing up a basketball fan in hockey nation was... lonely at times. What can I say? I like what I like.

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