Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has made quite a few enemies on the court ever since he entered the NBA. As a notorious trash talker on and off the court during his early days with the Sixers, Embiid has built up a rivalry with players such as Russell Westbrook, Karl Anthony-Towns, and his newest teammate, Andre Drummond.
Before Drummond was bouncing around the NBA as a backup big man, he was an All-Star caliber player for the Detroit Pistons. Embiid, who always plays with a chip on his shoulder and wants to prove he's the best big in the game, always used to dominate in his battles against Drummond.
Never could anybody imagine that Drummond would become Embiid's backup, but here we are. On Wednesday afternoon, Drummond arrived at the Sixers' practice facility to meet with Embiid for the first time since he signed his one-year deal.
On Thursday afternoon, Drummond was introduced to the local media with a press conference. To no surprise, Drummond's competitive past with Embiid was the first topic brought up in the virtual presser, which Drummond downplayed as just two bigs with competitive nature trash-talking to get under each others' skin.
“There never was any real beef,” Drummond said. “It’s the game of basketball. We’re both competitors in the way we play. Sometimes we talk. I don’t think it ever goes any further than that. I don’t think there’s any real beef or any kind of malice toward each other.”
Although Drummond and Embiid have exchanged words in the past, the veteran center reiterated there were never any real issues between one another. So, as the former Pistons All-Star joins the Sixers ahead of the 2021-2022 season, Drummond believes that he and Embiid can click right away as there isn't any beef to squash.
“I don’t think there’s anything to really hash out,” he said. “Again, it’s the game of basketball. Trash talking is a part of the game. I don’t think it really has any meaning to it, at least to my knowledge. I don’t really care. At the end of the day, I talk trash to everybody. It’s part of the game. I have no malice toward Joel. I’m excited tied to be on the same team as him and make this work.”
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.