Few athletes have embraced the culture of Philadelphia quite like Joel Embiid.
The 7-foot Sixers star was spotted running through the Center City streets in Rocky-esque fashion Monday night, caught on camera by a passing Lyft driver.
The Process never stops: Lyft driver spots Joel Embiid going for a night run in Philly
(?: Evan Bowen-Gaddy/YouTube) pic.twitter.com/jCCRnFbJMK
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 3, 2017
This wasn’t the first time that Embiid has mingled with the locals in the offseason.
The big man attended the NFL draft back in April, he made an appearance at Center City Sips in June, he joined the crowd at Made In America on the parkway over Labor Day Weekend and celebrated Jake Elliott’s game-winning 61-yard field goal for the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field against the Giants two weekends ago.
The 23-year old has become a fan favorite not just locally, but nationwide due to his lovable and comedic nature off the basketball court and his fierce competitiveness on it.
But while all of this is all in good fun, it’s worrisome to some extent with his health still a big topic of conversation.
Embiid, who averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in just 31 games last season, has been sidelined since January with a left knee injury. He had minor surgery in March that removed a small portion of his meniscus.
“I feel like people haven’t really seen what I can do because I have only played 31 games,” Embiid said at Sixers’ Media Day last week. “A long as I stay healthy I have a lot to improve on and a lot of potential.”
Embiid is yet to partake in full-court 5-on-5 practices in the offseason, but had his first half-court session last week. Sixers coach Brett Brown said that the big man “looked good” on Monday, but the team is still being cautious with how to proceed due to the big man’s injury history.
“They have [Joel] on a path that is a conservative path that will hopefully put him in a planned progression to have sustainable on-court success,” Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo said. “It’s not about getting ready for the first practice or the first game. He will be out there on the first practice and the first game. The question is, how much, how little, if it all.”
With so much at stake for the Sixers franchise, Embiid may have to scale back his social life. The Andrew Bynum catastrophe is the reason he’s in Philadelphia after all.