During last summer’s instant-classic series between the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors, Joel Embiid cast himself as a villain and the North isn’t quick to forget.
Embiid submitted the worst performance of his professional career against a swarming Raptors’ defence, with zero points on 0-for-11 shooting from the field, to go along with a ghastly four turnovers and five fouls, as Toronto won 101-96.
It appears that Raptors fans may live rent free in Embiid’s head, as two fans trolled the two-time All-Star with his own airplane celebration on Monday, a gesture that dates back to last summer.
Take a look for yourself:
Raps fans continue to mock Joel Embiid's airplane celebration from the 2019 playoffs. 😂✈️ pic.twitter.com/GgL6K4YhK4— J.E. Skeets (@jeskeets) November 26, 2019
After the game, Embiid appeared to be in shock.
“I never would have dreamed of this,” Embiid said post-game, according to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange.
Toronto emerged with a 92-90 victory in Game 7 when Kawhi Leonard sunk his now-iconic buzzer-beater and the image of Embiid sharing an embrace with Marc Gasol, before crying into the hallway, is one of the last images of the playoffs.
He’ll gain little sympathy in Canada, however.
Before the Raptors advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, Embiid celebrated a Game 3 victory by pantomiming an airplane. Toronto — led by Drake — trolled Embiid back with his own celebration in Game 5, and were back at it again during Monday’s game in Toronto.
Embiid said after Game 5 that he didn’t pay attention to the fans but they’ll almost certainly have his attention if he gets trolled any time he enters Scotiabank Arena.
Raptors-76ers is quickly becoming one of the NBA’s best rivalries with Embiid and Ben Simmons leading a youthful core, while Toronto’s Pascal Siakam is emerging into a genuine superstar surrounded by veteran-laden talent across the board.
Old memories die hard, and Embiid may be public enemy No. 1 among Raptors fans for the time being.
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