In a night full of tough emotions as the Sixers played their first game since the passing of Kobe Bryant, Joel Embiid gave fans a chance to smile through the pain.
Joel Embiid scoring his 24th point on this move while wearing #24 is something special. pic.twitter.com/eEhnvczOQY
— A (@aidan_34_powers) January 29, 2020
Embiid claimed after the game that while scoring his 24th point on the patented Bryant fade-away, Joel did indeed yell Kobe’s name as he shot it.
Also after the game, players weighed in on the impact Kobe had on their lives. Joel Embiid said if Kobe didn’t inspire him to start playing basketball, these would be his possible professions:
•President of his country
"……if it wasn't for Kobe, I wouldn't have been here."
Joel Embiid caught up with @SerenaWinters to open up about Kobe Bryant's impact on him and the honor of wearing No.24. pic.twitter.com/oSqW9Ed8KD
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 29, 2020
This is so inherently pure Joel Embiid content. He has the same list of future jobs as most 2nd graders.
Good to have you back, Jo.
Before the game, the Sixers honored all 9 victims of Sunday’s helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles by shining 9 beams of light onto the hardwood. There was a 33 second moment of silence for Kobe’s high school number at Lower Merion and the ceremonial bell was rung 9 times, once for each life lost.
It was a surreal moment as the game started, the Wells Fargo Center was dead silent. No music, no cheers. It was somber, a position fans hadn’t been in before. Once they saw Joel Embiid wearing the #24, they knew that was their cue to erupt. Embiid then gave them plenty of chances to cheer as the emotional night went along.