Joel Embiid’s Illnesses Are God’s Punishment For His Sins
“Gastroenteritis” is a medical term that Philadelphia 76ers fans have come to know all too well over the past few weeks, as Joel Embiid has struggled with the ailment since the team’s first round series against the upstart Brooklyn Nets. While a limited Embiid was not a particularly pressing issue against the Nets overmatched frontcourt, the team needs him to be operating at something approaching full capacity against a Raptors team featuring an unconscious Kawhi Leonard and the strong, highly intelligent interior defense of Marc Gasol, who was acquired in part to deal with Embiid.
Embiid’s health was further compromised heading into Game 5, before which he was listed as “probable” with an upper respiratory infection. Much has been made of Embiid’s diet over the last couple years, starting with a 2015 story in the Caludron highlighting perceived attitude issues and turning the center’s love of Shirley Temples into a meme. This chatter was renewed this year when a Bleacher Report piece about Sixers rookie hazing closed with an anecdote about Landry Shamet picking up a preposterous Chick-Fil-A order for Embiid that included four cookies and cream milkshakes.
While these dietary habits are concerning for an oft-injure big man if they continue long-term, an ESPN story by Jackie MacMullen published last week indicates that since Embiid’s started dealing with his current bout of knee soreness, he has significantly improved his eating habits, including a near-elimination of sugar and an increase in salad intake. Diet also does not explain an upper respiratory infection as well as it does stomach issues.
If diet is not the main cause of Embiid’s myriad illnesses, then something else besides luck must be. The mostly likely culprit? Sin.
Joel Embiid is a sinner. Ever since he was drafted third overall by the Sixers, Embiid has shown himself to be a lustful man. Shortly after the draft, he pursued relationships with Kim Kardashian and Rihanna, two of the 21st century’s most overtly sexual women. Rest assured, these overtures were not based in his respect for them as a businesswoman and a musical artist. No, he wanted to have sex with them, and worse, since he did not propose marriage to either, it’s clear that he wanted to have PREMARITAL sex with them. Premarital sex? Yeah, that’s a textbook sin.
While he has abandoned his pursuit of Rihanna, Embiid does have a girlfriend now, a swimsuit model named Anne De Paula. Based on his prior actions, and the fact that a woman who bares that much skin to make a living is essentially a sex worker, it’s easy to surmise that the two engage in premarital sex, which, as established above, is a sin. Maybe people are correct to be worried about what Embiid is eating, but their focusing on the wrong kind of eating?
Even more concerning than the lust (and lust is one of the seven deadly sins, so for something to be more concerning than that, it must be truly blasphemous) is the idolatry. Sixers fans worship Embiid like a god. This is perhaps not surprising; they are starved for elite basketball, not having had anyone as talented as Embiid since either Julius Erving or Moses Malone (apologies to Allen Iverson and Charles Barkley). That’s not Embiid’s fault, and he shouldn’t be punished for it (thought the fans will be). The issue, though, is the way Embiid embraces this worship.
It’s one thing to be embraced as a god; it’s quite another to openly accept that praise and play into it. Embiid’s lack of humility and embrace of Philadelphia fans’ reverence is tantamount to declaring himself God’s equal. He stirs up crowds like a false prophet. He calls himself “unstoppable,” which, taken literally, means that he is more powerful than God because God is incapable of stopping him. He is the golden calf of Sinai made swaggering flesh, an affront to to the power and wisdom of his creator. This hubris cannot be rewarded with good health.
If the Sixers want to be true title contenders for years to come, they need Joel Embiid to be healthy. There are earthly measures that the team and Embiid can take: a healthier diet, a more carefully planned minutes distributions, and an effective three-point shot that would save him from the wear-and-tear of post play would all seem to help. However, none of these changes will make a difference if the man known as “The Process” doesn’t repent for his sins, cease having sex for non-procreation purposes, and declare his devotion to the one true Christian God. Diarrhea and a cold are only the beginning of God’s wrath; if he’s not careful, he could soon see his beloved Shirley Temples turned to blood.