United in Slam

Joel Embiid's reaction to Kawhi’s throwdown mid-postgame interview is proof nothing brings the world together like a monster dunk

Joel Embiid had a tough night on Monday. Not only did his Philadelphia 76ers blow a 13-point halftime lead to the Atlanta Hawks, but his second-half performance was one for the history books . . . and not in a good way. Embiid went 0-12, including a pivotal look with eight seconds remaining that would have handed the lead back to the Sixers. Instead the Hawks went on to win 103-100, evening their Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games a piece. Making matters even worse, Embiid’s 12 attempts without a make were the most by a single player in the NBA playoffs in 25 years. Like we said, a tough night.

During his postgame press conference, however, all of Embiid's troubles were forgotten as he watched in awe as Kawhi Leonard threw down the dunk of the postseason on a nearby TV screen. Cynics might say it was a clever deflection from his own struggles, but Embiid's genuine shock as Kawhi sent Derrick Favors back to the Dark Ages suggests otherwise.

If you’re still doubting, perhaps you need to see the dunk for yourself. If this doesn’t make you jump out of your seat on your own Zoom call about your inadequacies as an employee, then you might want to check your pulse.

A “major Kawhi-light” indeed, Mr. Harlan. The moral of the story here is that no matter how bad things might be going at work or in life, nothing eases that pain, however temporarily, like the pure, cathartic rattle of an NBA posterization. Doubly so in the playoffs. Triply so when authored by one of the league’s biggest stars. So let’s all go easy on Embiid this morning. Let’s join hands and come together in celebration of The Almighty Jam. Joel, Son of Slam, you are forgiven.