Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has always referred to himself as a troll. Not only online, where he calls himself "Troel" Embiid, but also on the court. The primary reason Embiid utilizes trolling tactics on the court is to get into his opponents' heads.
Sometimes, players get frustrated and start having an off night. Other times, their frustration leads to technical fouls. Embiid is no stranger to baiting other players into getting technical fouls and he managed to do it earlier this week when the Sixers faced the New Orleans Pelicans at home.
During the Tuesday night matchup in South Philly, Embiid and New Orleans' 23-year-old guard Jose Alvarado got into a bit of a mix-up. After the two exchanged words, they were both hit with technical fouls.
Therefore, they were slapped with a fine. According to the NBA, each of the first five technical fouls that players receive is $2,000. For Embiid, a max-contracted superstar center, that's nothing. For Alvarado, a guy who was recently on a ten-day contract with the Pelicans, that bill isn't ideal.
Embiid's Got It Covered
On Thursday, Alvarado revealed to the media that Embiid told him he'd cover the fine coming his way. After finding out that the Pelicans guard put that information out there, Embiid explained his reasoning behind covering the fine for the young guard.
"I felt bad for him,” said Embiid on Thursday. “I watch a lot of basketball. Any time I’m not doing anything, I’m always watching other games and stuff, and I just like his energy. He plays hard, he competes. Even when he picked up the tech, he wasn’t backing down. It was just regular trash talk. Two guys going at each other on the court, but he didn’t back down, and I respected him. I like that about him so after the game, I just went up to him and I told him to keep fighting and to keep it going.”
On Tuesday night, Embiid was under the impression that Alvarado was under a ten-day contract. However, Embiid was happy to hear that's no longer the case.
"He just got signed? Great,” Embiid finished. “I just felt like that’s the least I could do because I made him pick up the tech and he obviously doesn’t make as much as a lot of guys in the league. I just felt like that was on me and I didn’t want him to lose that money because I’m sure we all need it.”
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.