The Philadelphia 76ers’ postseason got off to a rocky start on Saturday afternoon. During the first game of the 2019 NBA Playoffs, the Sixers failed to defend their homecourt, falling to the pesky Brooklyn Nets, 111-102. While there are plenty of things to take away from the game, much of the attention in the immediate aftermath came from Sixers center Amir Johnson pulling out his phone and showing Joel Embiid a text on the bench.
Johnson was not active for the game, but still isn’t allowed to have his phone during a game. ESPN’s cameras caught him texting, which led to Doris Burke chastising him for using his phone and Twitter exploding with memes. Still, there had to be a reason for why this happened, and after the game, both Brett Brown and Embiid were asked about the incident.
Brown went first and explained that shit sort of thing is “completely unacceptable,” and that the team will figure out a way to deal with it.
Embiid, however, said that Johnson wasn’t acting maliciously. Instead, his daughter his under the weather, and Johnson wanted to make sure things were ok.
“I just looked down because he said that his daughter was extremely sick and he was checking on her,” Embiid said during his postgame press conference.
The breakdown in communication that led to Brown forcefully condemning a player going through a family emergency is a bit odd, but Johnson is a veteran and knows what is and is not cool. So while it didn’t look great at first without context, and while this doesn’t necessarily mean the Sixers won’t hand down a fine or suspension, hopefully everything is ok back home, because it stands to reason that he wouldn’t do this unless things were serious.