Sixers big man Joel Embiid had always dreamed of playing for the LA Lakers, especially alongside the late Kobe Bryant.
Known for its hardcore sports culture, Joel Embiid holds a special place in the hearts of the people in Philadelphia. The reigning scoring champion is coming off a breakthrough season with the Sixers, finishing off as the runner-up to the MVP award, which many believed belonged to him.
Amid the Ben Simmons saga, Embiid ensured the Sixers remained in playoff contention. Though the arrival of James Harden brought some respite, JoJo continued to do most of the heavy lifting. Post defeating the Raptors in the first round, a bruised and battered Embiid did everything he could but fell short in front of the Miami Heat.
There is no denying that the Cameroon native is the face of the current Sixers franchise. Surprisingly, this wasn’t something that the seven-foot center had ideally envisioned. Embiid had always aspired to be Laker, residing in LA before his 2014 draft.
Unfortunately, the stars didn’t align in favor of the purple and gold, who received the seventh pick, with Embiid being drafted no.3 with the Sixers.
“I’m a Laker”: Joel Embiid wasn’t shy about his desire before draft day.
On his way to going pro, Embiid wanted Kobe Bryant to take him under his wing and groom him as a player. At the time, the Lakers were rebuilding, with the Black Mamba being at the flag end of his career. Nonetheless, there was a host of budding talent in the form of D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Jordan Clarkson, to name a few.
While Embiid could take the reigns from Kobe, Philly proves to be a better place for The Process. JoJo had tried everything possible to be a Laker, including asking his agent Arn Tellem to strike a deal.
However, destiny had other plans for the five-time All-Star. Embiid’s marriage with the Sixers would earn him a seat on the table of Sixers legends like Allen Iverson and Wilt Chamberlain.
The Bean and the Process in Laker land?
Joel Embiid tried EVERYTHING to play with Kobe Bryant before getting drafted 👀 pic.twitter.com/WC21rfpibX
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) August 4, 2022
Sadly, Embiid would have to miss his first 2-seasons, dealing with a severe foot injury. Thus had he been drafted with the Lakers, playing alongside the Mamba wouldn’t have been possible as he retired post the 2015-16 season.