Joel Embiid working out with Brown last February.
By Peter Gleason
Brett Brown wasn’t happy about Sports Illustrated’s report, which FASTPHILLYSPORTS.COM reported on Friday, that there was dissension in the Sixers’ upper ranks about how Joel Embiid’s rehab was progressing, but:
He was happy to piss on it from a great height!
A report from SI, published hours before the Sixers’ preseason game with Washington, called out the team’s injured center Embiid for “insubordinate” behavior and an apparent aversion to proper rehabilitation and healthy eating.
It also said Sixers owner Josh Harris’ preference was to have Brown or general manager Sam Hinkie tell Embiid to stay home during Las Vegas Summer League, so that the big man could undergo a second surgery on his injured foot. Embiid ultimately joined the Sixers in Vegas “to party,” the report stated.
“When you read about what’s now been written, there are several portions of it that are wildly inaccurate — that being one of them,” Brown said. “I have no idea what that means or why it was said. It’s just one of those things we move on from and we’re treating it is as noise.”
Embiid, 21, a first-round pick in the 2014 draft, underwent a bone-graft surgery on the navicular bone in his right foot Aug. 18 and is expected to sit out his second consecutive season.
The SI report painted a less-than-enviable picture of Embiid.
Embiid, according to the report, “refused” to wear his walking boot, would often leave untouched a personal refrigerator stocked by team officials with healthy foods, and rack up hotel charges for pitchers of Shirley Temples. The story also alleged that Embiid was sent home from a West Coast road trip last December for “physically threatening” the Sixers’ strength coach.
“I understand, in today’s day and age, where a source says or an unnamed person declares, that all bets are off,” Brown said. “You can go in whatever direction you want. What upsets me more than anything is you look at Joel Embiid and he lost his brother (Arthur) on this day last year. And the article comes out today and it’s wildly unfair with some of the accusations as it relates to now.
“This story is old. It’s been documented. To all of a sudden wake up and have these things revisited is, in some ways, sad — particularly because of the timing.”
Hinkie was observed speaking with Embiid before Friday’s game, as Embiid exited the Sixers’ locker room on a pair of crutches.
Brown, who said the cast on Embiid’s right foot was removed Monday, seemed to excuse any childish tendencies exhibited by Embiid with a boys-will-be-boys rationale.
“He’s (21) years old now. Coach (Rick) Pitino sent me home when I was 19 years old. True,” said Brown, of his Boston University playing days. “I’m proud of where Joel Embiid is at. He’s had a rough few years not playing. He will get there. We’re moving him forward and, more importantly, he’s moving himself forward.”