Joel Embiid needs your All-Star vote so he can date someone who may or may not be Rihanna

Joel Embiid very well might already have Rookie of the Year honors sewn up, but the Philadelphia 76ers center has his sights set on bigger accolades — and, by extension, a much, much loftier goal.

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Our story begins two and a half years ago, when Embiid — a scant two months removed from the Sixers selecting him out of Kansas with the No. 3 overall pick in the NBA draft — informed the world via Twitter that his attempts to get romantic with a famous female had been rebuffed until such time as the rookie-to-be established himself as a bona fide professional of consequence:

Fast forward to the dying days of 2016, when Embiid — now finally and blessedly healthy after two years of foot injuries, and putting up prodigious numbers as the unquestioned focal point of the Sixers — again turned to Twitter for some good old-fashioned social media campaigning, reminding us all that a vote for his inclusion in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans is a vote for giving the Cameroonian big man a shot at love:

After the Sixers’ thrilling final-second win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night — a game that saw Embiid continue his strong season with 25 points on 8-for-20 shooting, eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal in 30 minutes — “The Process” reaffirmed his desire to get his vote count up in pursuit of passion.

“Rookie of the Year would be great, but I don’t think it’s going to help me get to my crush,” Embiid told reporters after the game. “Hopefully the All-Star [vote] will help me do that. I’m just trying to help the team win games. If I’m playing well and the team is winning games, that’s what I want.”

Embiid has previously declined to identify the girl on which he’s got his sights set:

… but, according to TMZ, it’s “definitely” Rihanna … which, if you’ve been following JoJo over the past two-plus years, you had probably already guessed.

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Rihanna acknowledged Embiid’s advances the month after he was drafted, but shortly thereafter, Embiid claimed the whole thing was a bit.

“No no, it’s not like that. I’m just messing,” he told Billboard in September of 2014. “I’m not trying to date her. I’m just messing.”

A couple of years later, though, he might have turned back from kidding to kidding on the square. Embiid discussed meeting Rihanna for the first time during an October interview with ESPN.

“It went well,” Embiid told ESPN’s Kevin Neghandi. “We talked and obviously she knew me, and I was pretty excited about it. We had a conversation. We kind of talked about my Twitter and it was fun. She thought I was funny.”

Funny is good. Funny’s a start. Funny plus averaging 19.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 1.9 assists in 25 minutes per game, and producing per-minute numbers we haven’t seen since Wilt, might even get you an audience with one of music’s biggest stars.

It won’t be easy for Embiid to break through an Eastern Conference frontcourt mix that figures to include LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and a slew of other established and/or deserving candidates. At this point, though, you bet against JoJo at your own peril. From Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News:

“I saw it coming,” said Nerlens Noel, with a smile and head shake. “Joel is a special, special player, a special kid and a special person. He’s really set himself up in a position to continue to progress. He’s grown over these past couple of years tremendously, as a person, a player, and as professional, as well. I think he deserves every blessing coming his way.”

Including, perhaps, the blessing of an audience with RiRi. And hey, since God helps those who help themselves …


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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!