Joel Embiid clarifies ‘best player in the world’ comments after scoring 49 points in 76ers’ win over Hawks

Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid put together a spectacular performance in Tuesday’s 129-112 win over the Atlanta Hawks. His 49 points were a career high and he absolutely dominated the paint throughout the evening. Following the game, Embiid was asked about his recent comments about declaring himself the “best player in the world.” Embiid claimed that comment was blown out of proportion and he just believed that he “deserved” to be in the conversation for being the league’s top player.

“What I said was that All-Star Game fourth quarter, I’m out there with some of the guys that are considered the best players in the world, and I’m out there just dominating, being unstoppable, doing whatever I want, especially in the post,” Embiid said. “So to me, I just felt like that was a chance for me to prove that I deserved being in that conversation of being the best player in the world.”

Embiid certainly showed that he does belong in that conversation after pouring in one of his best outings of the season against the Hawks. However, the Sixers star still doesn’t believe that it rivals his performance against the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2017 when he scored 46 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, dished out seven assists and registered seven blocks.

“It’s going to take a lot to beat that,” Embiid said. “I mean 46, 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks. That was pretty good,” he said. “But I got a bright future in front of me. I’m gonna keep on working hard and keep trying to get better every single day.”

There certainly was a little bit of controversy late in the game. Embiid grabbed a Hawks miss and brought the ball across halfcourt with the intention of dribbling out the clock. However, Hawks guard Kevin Huerter had other ideas as he stole the ball from Embiid when the star was casually dribbling it.

Following the steal, Embiid was seen flipping the bird at Huerter as the Hawks regained possession.

“There was 24 seconds left in the game, and I was playing,” Huerter told ESPN. “He brought the ball up court. He was pumping up crowd before that, doing all the stuff he usually does, and he wasn’t looking; so I went up and took the ball and got another possession. If he did it, I don’t think that warrants that, but it is what it is.”

Embiid did bring the play up during his postgame interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I also want to say sorry for what I did at the end of the game,” Embiid said. “Y’all probably saw that on TV. I’m sorry”

Embiid’s antics certainly always seem to stir up some controversy and Monday was no different. Regardless, his performance was certainly one for the ages.

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