Brett Brown is, at least publicly, downplaying Joel Embiid’s social media posts Monday night.
The 76ers coach said Tuesday night that he’s been told about his franchise player posting a quote from the 2008 Batman film, The Dark Night: “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” It appeared to be a response to the attention he’s received from shushing Sixers fans who had booed him in the team’s win over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.
Embiid also hinted that he might join former teammate and friend Jimmy Butler with the Miami Heat after Butler replied to the Instagram post: “I know a place where villains are welcome.” Responded Embiid: “Damn right my brother.” In the end, Embiid indicated that he was just trolling Sixers fans.
Brown said he’s been told about the posts but hasn’t read them.
“It’s Joel,” the coach said. "Is it ideal? Maybe not. Is it Joel? Yes. Is there a maverick in a lot of really, really good players? Yes. And there is sort of a side of Jo that has always been there, that playful is sort of not the word that best suits this, but it’s that.
“You know me. Move on. I don’t really have much to add to that.”
It was obvious that the coach wanted to publicly sweep Embiid’s action under the rug.
Asked if he was concerned that Embiid and Butler were suggesting a reunion with the Heat, Brown responded: “I got so much more that I am thinking about than that.”
“I’ll go back to my original comment,” Brown said. “Is it ideal? No. Am I reading too much into it? Will I overreact? Absolutely not.”
But Embiid has been criticized for his lack of leadership in regard to commitment on the court, conditioning, and maturity. The coach disagreed, saying he has taken his position as a leader seriously this season.
Brown talked about Embiid repetitively being at the practice facility working out at midnight and 12:30 a.m. He also noted how Embiid came back earlier than expected after suffering a torn ligament in his left ring finger.