COMMENTARY: Joel Embiid robbed of All-Star game position


Joel Embiid

As a homegrown 76ers fan, I can give this to you straight: Joel Embiid has given Philadelphians a tiny glimmer of hope after countless seasons of disappointing basketball. More so, he’s given the entire NBA something to be excited about.

He’s a rookie averaging 28.3 points and 3.5 blocks in 36 minutes and was also voted as third by fans, fifth by media, and eighth by players for the 2017 NBA All-Star game. In total, he averaged fourth, putting him just behind Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler.

So where is his spot on the Eastern Conference’s 2017 All-Star game? Essentially, Embiid summed it up in a tweet after the announcement of chosen reserves: “Once again the popular vote didn’t matter…”

Although a bit more complicated than that, Embiid was snubbed by the coaches’ three choices for front court after missing the top three cutoff from fan votes. The positions were given to Paul George, Kevin Love and Paul Millsap.

George, Love, and Millsap have earned their positions as great players, but the All-Star Game is about so much more than skill. It is meant to be fun, attract a large audience, and celebrate the NBA. Embiid has the skill and personality to play as a true all-star.

I would be surprised to see Paul Millsap dancing with cheerleaders on side court, or get half the highlights Embiid has in any given 76ers game. Embiid does what Millsap does in half of the time. Despite foot surgery keeping him off the court for two years, he’s been able to put up record points in record times as a rookie. He’s hopeful, fun and beyond all else, talented.

Embiid won’t completely miss out. He is set to play in the Rising Stars Challenge. It’s not going to fill that cheesesteak shaped hole in Philly fan’s hearts, but at least Embiid is getting a little of the attention he deserves.

As we Americans know all too well, sometimes the system takes over the people’s voice. Luckily, Joel Embiid being ripped off only affects our weekend-long All-Star game on Feb. 19. If Embiid continues on the road of 3-pointers and unstoppable defense, he is likely to make the All-Star roster next year, no problem.