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Joel Embiid’s journey to the NBA — and his latest Sixers record — is unbelievable even to him

TORONTO – Joel Embiid never imagined becoming the Joel Embiid we knew.

When he was 16 years old, the Cameroonian arrived in the United States as a basketball newcomer. His goal was to up his game enough to get a free education at an American university.

It never occurred to him that he would become the face of the 76ers and a global icon of basketball with commercials and wealth generation.

However, Embiid reached another milestone by scoring 36 points in Monday’s 117-96 win over the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena.

READ MORE: Joel Embiid creates a classic moment in Boston and continues to grow his legend

With his 19th point, Embiid joined Hall of Famer Allen Iverson as one of only two Sixers to hit 7,000 points in his first 300 games. They both set their game record 282. Embiid will score 7,017 points in Tuesday’s meeting with the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena.

But this is just one of the many awards for excellence.

Embiid has the third-best scoring average in franchise history at 24.9 points behind Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain (27.62) and Iverson (27.60). He is the leader of the franchise in the defensive rebound (8.9) ahead of Hall of Famers George McGinnis (7.8), Dikembe Mutombo (7.7), Moses Malone (7.4), Charles Barkley (7.2) and Chris Weber (7.0), who are over the top. six.

Embiid also ranks first in free throws made (7.4), fourth in free throw attempts (9.1), fifth in field goal attempts (8.2), ninth in field goal attempts (16.9), and seventh in total rebounds (11.3) And the eighth in blocks (1.7).

Not bad for someone who played volleyball for most of his childhood and didn’t think about basketball until he discovered Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Aliwan. So he got his basketball for the first time when he was 15 years old in Yaounde, Cameroon.

Unfamiliar with the sport, he often bounced the ball off his foot and the passes slipped between his hands.

While he possessed uncanny footwork, speed and an outside shooting touch, Embiid remained an idle potential after moving to Florida to play first at Monteverde Academy and then School of Rock.

“I mean when you start playing basketball at 16, for me, it was like that [you] He really never had the chance to make it happen.” “When I came here, I think the thing that helped me the most was that people believed in me at first. That made me work really hard to try to get better.”

But at that point, he wasn’t focused on playing in the NBA.

“I’ve always thought I wasn’t good enough,” Embiid said. “Even when I went to college, I always thought there was no chance of me being successful.”

But just as in high school, the coaches in Kansas believed in him. This prompted him to pursue a career in the NBA.

So after his only season as a Jayhawk, the Sixers picked Embiid third in the 2014 NBA Draft.

The 27-year-old sat in his first two seasons due to foot surgeries. He made only 31 appearances due to surgery performed at the end of the season to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee during the 2016-17 season. However, he has shown glimpses of what he can do, averaging 20.2 points and 25.4 minutes this season.

Since then, Embiid has been voted as the NBA All-Star starter in each of the past four seasons. With that, he joined Iverson on another record roster. He became the first player in the franchise to do so since Iverson did so seven times in a row between the 2000-2006 seasons.

»Read more: Joel Embiid continues to improve as a 3-point shooter, boosting Sixers’ attack

Additionally, Embiid became a three-time All-NBA Choice and three-time All-Defensive.

“It’s crazy,” he said of his successful run after Sunday’s game in the capital. [to the United States]. I was telling him I was about the same age… 16 when I came to the States.

“My goal was really to use this opportunity to get some kind of scholarship and some kind of degree so I could go home and get something out of it.”

Shake Milton, Andre Drummond and Danny Green remain in league COVID-19 health and safety protocols for the Sixers (17-16) and will miss Tuesday’s game against the Raptors (14-16). Meanwhile, Ben Simmons still has to play this season when he asks for a deal.

Toronto is in worse shape than the Sixers.

Precious Achiuwa, OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Isaac Bonga, Justin Champagnie, Malachi Flynn and Fred VanVleet have all been sidelined in COVID-19 protocols. Goran Dragic (not with the team) and David Johnson (strain on the left calf) also miss. Khim Birch, Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr are questionable regarding a return to competition terms.

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