An open letter to Sixers sensation Joel Embiid


Dear Joel,

You’ve has missed fourteen of the Sixers’ last fifteen games and General Manager Bryan Colangelo announced that you have a slight meniscus tear. Prior to this information being released, a video surfaced of you dancing on stage during a Meek Mill concert. Similarly to any injured player who’s shown doing an extracurricular activity, you received a lot of criticism. You responded to the slack by saying you were just having fun, but we need you to understand the fans are coming from – we had a volatile history with oft-injured centers – Andrew Bynum.

The Sixers finished the shortened 2011-2012 season with a 35-31 record and made it to the playoffs. Philly over-performed and appeared only a couple key players away from contending. In the offseason, the front office made a blockbuster trade. As a part of a four-team trade, Philadelphia received Jason Richardson from the Magic and Andrew Bynum from the Lakers, but it cost the franchise Andre Iguodala, Nikola Vucevic, and Moe Harkless. Bynum, 24, had already missed dozens of games for knee and ankle injuries and was still recovering when he was sent to Philly. The most games he’s played in during any season was 65, 79.2%.

The season before Bynum was traded to Philadelphia was his best during his entire career. It was his only all-star appearance. That season he averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. He was dominating the paint on both sides of the court. Many considered Bynum the second best center at the time of the trade. But that season he only played in 60 games, his second highest total in a season throughout his whole career.

The risks were clear when the Philadelphia pulled the trigger on this trade. Bynum had been hurt essentially every season and he was only under contract for one season. Philly could’ve sacrificed all of those assets for him to just walk away in free agency after one season. Immediately following the trade, Bynum had knee surgery. Then he was held out of practice and eventually games. Players have setbacks all the time, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. But nothing can compare to the heartache of the bowling accident.

Andrew Bynum was recovering from a right knee injury when he decided to go bowling… and he injured his right knee.

That was rock bottom for Philadelphia fans in terms of Bynum’s short stint in the city. The setback showed a lot about him. He came across as unapologetic and appeared like he didn’t care about the success of the team or his contributions to the Sixers. Andrew Bynum was paid $15 million to sit on the bench and show up every couple weeks with a new hairstyle. This trade proved to be a catastrophic mistake. It put the nail in the coffin on a relatively good team because they traded so many assets for one potential star that didn’t pan out.

Joel, the reason people were concerned when the video of you dancing came out is related to Bynum. Sorry but the comparisons are there. Both of you are tremendous big men, potentially franchise changing players who are constantly hurt. The city of Philadelphia loves you with all of their collective hearts. But that comes with a big responsibility. There’s never been a Philadelphia athlete quite like you because such a big part of who you are is through social media. It has increased your hype and people’s love for you. But with more love comes more responsibility.


A Concerned Sixers Fan


Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports