Charles Barkley: 'Joel Embiid has got to get his fat butt in shape' for Sixers to compete

According to Charles Barkley, <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/5294/" data-ylk="slk:Joel Embiid">Joel Embiid</a> needs to 'get his fat butt in shape.' (Getty Images)
According to Charles Barkley, Joel Embiid needs to 'get his fat butt in shape.' (Getty Images)

Charles Barkley, the former Round Mound of Rebound, has some honest, no-nonsense advice for Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.

The Sixers need Embiid to be in tip-top shape in order to compete next season, and Barkley wants to make sure Embiid gets the message. So he spelled it out on ESPN’s “Get Up” as only he could.

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“Joel Embiid has got to get this fat butt in shape” sounds pretty harsh, but Barkley only means for it to be a little kick in the rear for Embiid. Barkley recalled when someone did something similar for him, and how significant it was in his development.

“When I got to Philadelphia in 1984, the most important person in my life, basketball-wise, said to me ‘you fat and you lazy.’ And I said ‘what do you mean?’ Moses Malone said ‘you fat and you lazy.’ He made me lose 50 pounds, and the rest is history.”

Joel Embiid’s level of fitness has been in question for years. Not just because of his early career injuries that caused him to miss astronomical amounts of time, but because the 7-foot literal big man had some questionable eating habits. He used to throw out vegetables and drink entire pitchers of Shirley Temples. His normal pre-travel Chick-Fil-A order is four spicy chicken sandwiches, four orders of fries, and four cookies and cream milkshakes. In other words, a regular lunch for four entire people.

Embiid is an enormous human with an appetite (and presumably a metabolism) to match, but he knows he needed to step up his nutrition game. When he spoke to Philly Voice’s Kyle Neubeck at the start of the 2018-2019 season, he talked about how his diet had changed.

Neubeck: Speaking of, what has the diet change been like?

Embiid: [Laughs] The diet has been... there's a couple differences. I've never eaten vegetables before, so now I've started.

Neubeck: You never ate vegetables before?

Embiid: Nah. [Laughs] So now I kind of eat less, controlled and everything. Nothing unusual, and that leads me into the season being in shape and more healthy. That was my first healthy summer, so I'm excited, a lot of expectations and I can't wait to go out and show everybody what I can do.

And after another season in which the Sixers didn’t make it to the finals, Embiid isn’t taking the summer off. His recent partially-clothed Instagram posts make that abundantly clear.

I guess Barkley isn’t following Embiid on Instagram, or he’d know that Embiid is sporting a genuine six pack and is very eager to show it off. Looks like Embiid has already been following Barkley’s advice. Now he just has to keep it up during the season.

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