Joel Embiid said on Tuesday that he doesn’t trust his fellow NBA players to stay safe in the NBA bubble.
On Thursday, he hammered that fear home with his attire en route to Disney World.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ All-NBA center arrived for the team flight to Florida decked out in gloves, a mask and a hazmat suit.
Embiid’s usually got jokes, and the suit was obviously for show as he began to shed it while boarding the plane. But the concerns he expressed on Tuesday are real.
‘I hated the idea’
Joel Embiid on concerns going into Orlando:
“I’m not a big fan of the idea. But then again, I’m going to do my job. I’m not going to let the city down. I’m going to represent my city, my family, my teammates - that’s what I’ve always done.” #Sixershttps://t.co/v7pIJGfGIH pic.twitter.com/1OcTptsRJe
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 7, 2020
“I hated the idea,” Embiid said when asked on a video call with reporters about fears around the bubble league. “I feel like, with everything that has been going on, it’s unfortunate what’s been going on in the world. ...
“All I want to be is, you know, stay healthy and stay safe, keep the people around me safe. I want to make sure I’m able to live for a long time and not have any sort of, I don’t know, consequences in the future.”
Embiid declined opt-out option
NBA players had the option to opt out of the bubble league without penalty beyond missed game checks. Despite his concerns, Embiid chose not to exercise that option. None of the players who opted out are All-Stars, and Embiid would have been the most notable absence by far had he chosen to join them.
Of the players to opt out, only Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley is a starter on a championship contender. The 76ers may not be among the championship favorites, but Embiid not showing up to compete for a title would have been more than notable.
And for that, Embiid chose to attend, telling reporters he didn’t want to let down his teammates or 76ers fans.
But while he’s there, he’s planning on playing it safe. Playing it safe in this instance means playing video games in his room.
“I know I’m going to do the right things,” Embiid said. "I don’t ever do anything. I only play video games. I’m always home. I don’t do anything. But then again, I don’t trust those other guys to do the same. But like I said, I got to do my job.”
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