Injuries are part and parcel of being a basketball player. But Joel Embiid may be the first NBA star to suffer one because of a wild animal. Here’s a look at how the Philadelphia 76ers center got closer to nature than he intended when he visited a South African animal refuge.
Born in Cameroon in 1994, Joel Embiid initially harbored ambitions of becoming a professional volleyball player but switched to basketball in his mid-teens. He was then taken under the wing of NBA star and fellow Cameroonian Luc Mbah a Moute after impressing with his skills on the court. At the age of 16 Embiid relocated to the U.S. to further pursue his hoop dreams.
Disappointed by his lack of court time at Montverde Academy, Florida, Embiid transferred to The Rock School in nearby Gainesville after 12 months. He excelled, and in his senior year he guided the academy’s team to a state championship. Then, in 2012, he accepted a place at the University of Kansas.