Joel Embiid Insists He ‘Loves’ Lonzo Ball Regardless Of All His Jokes

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Joel Embiid likes to talk trash. Whether it’s on the court or on social media, the Sixers’ young star enjoys ruffling people’s feathers and antagonizing his fellow NBA colleagues.

This year, we’ve seen Embiid go after Hassan Whiteside in a vicious back-and-forth on Twitter following a preseason game and his antics against the Warriors earned him a technical foul, but also the respect and admiration of Draymond Green. Lonzo and LaVar Ball have also been the targets of Embiid on social media, with his “f*ck LaVar Ball” comment on Instagram earning him a fine from the NBA.

While Embiid has begged Ben Simmons to dunk all over Lonzo and has happily antagonized LaVar, he insists he’s a big fan of the Lakers’ young point guard. Not only is he a fan of Lonzo, but he is the latest NBA player to voice support for what the Ball family is doing with Big Baller Brand and trying to pave their own way in the sneaker industry.

As he told ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne recently, it’s all love and jokes when it comes to Lonzo Ball.

“I love Lonzo,” Embiid told ESPN. “The whole situation with them, I think it’s just fun. I love what he’s doing, especially with his own shoe. He’s staking his own place. People think I hate him, but I love him.

“I just meant it to be funny,” Embiid said of his tweet about wanting Simmons to dunk on Lonzo. “Even the thing I said ‘Oh please dunk on him,’ I just took it from [Simmons’] sister, who said that like weeks before that.”

Embiid seems to genuinely enjoy pushing other people’s buttons, so I absolutely believe him here. He messes with his teammates and when he gets into it on the court with someone, like with Kevin Durant this weekend, they can usually be seen dapping each other up after the game — although, he and Whiteside probably have some real, actual animosity going on.

We’ll have to see if Lonzo is as reciprocative of the love to Embiid when the two play on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, but either way, the matchup should be fun.