TORONTO -- As Joel Embiid left Game Five, sick and tired and hopeless with 9 minutes, 5 seconds to play, he promised hip-hop star Drake that the Sixers would win Game Six in Philadelphia on Thursday and force a Game Seven here Sunday.
Drake, who sits on the Raptors’ sideline, responded by standing up and mimicking Embiid’s trademark airplane celebration as play recommenced.
Embiid and Drake, a Toronto native and the Raptors’ “Global Ambassador,” are friends. He even brought Embiid out to attempt money-making shots at his concert in Philadelphia in September.
There is no enmity between them, but, as the Sixers fell, 125-89 in Game Five of the Eastern Conference semifinal to go down three games to two, Embiid wasn’t joking, either.
“We’re definitely going to do everything," Embiid said. “He’s always tells me to shoot the ball. We’re going to find ways.”
Asked if he told Drake he’d return Sunday, Embiid replied, “Yes.”
Asked if he cared that Drake led the 20,287 at Scotiabank Arena in mocking one of Embiid’s celebrations, Embiid said he doesn’t regret being known for his on-court celebrations, and he didn’t see Drake and the Raptors fans copying his:
“I didn’t notice. I just saw them shake their bodies. Good for them. Like I said -- I don’t care if it offends anybody. It’s all about having fun. I don’t care. I’m going to do that because I’m going to dominate.”