Joel Embiid's love of Shirley Temples: The origin

Joel Embiid's love of Shirley Temples: The origin

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid remembers the moment it happened, that night back in Kansas when he took a (non-alcoholic) sip and was hooked. It was then that Embiid’s affinity for Shirley Temples began. 

“One night I went out with my teammates,” Embiid explained at shootaround Wednesday. “I don’t drink alcohol so I wasn’t drinking. This girl walked up to me, she was talking to me, she was like, ‘Why aren’t you drinking?’ I was like, ‘I just don’t drink, alcohol is nasty.’ She said, ‘I might have something for you.’ She went and got a Shirley Temple. Then I was like, ‘Ohhh OK.’ Then I fell in love with it and since then, I’ve been drinking it.”

Embiid has been closely tied to his favorite beverage since he entered the NBA in 2014. He has spoken about consuming pitchers of Shirley Temples, which he has been cutting back. Embiid said he still has one drink “almost every day.” His ingredients of choice are grenadine and ginger ale.

“I used to drink a lot of them,” he said. “But I’ve got to keep my diet.”

The Sixers have launched an All-Star voting campaign for Embiid around his drink of choice. On Wednesday, those at the game can purchase 16-ounce Shirley Temples for $5 at all bar locations in the Wells Fargo Center. 

Robert Covington said Embiid is consistent with ordering a Shirley Temple and a water whenever he gets to a restaurant. Even though Embiid’s love for the drink is well known, he still raises eyebrows when requesting one. The reactions of surprise don't faze him.  

“Everybody looks at me like, ‘What do you mean, Shirley Temples?’” Embiid said. “That’s all I drink. That’s the best drink ever.” 

Sixers 2016 draft pick Furkan Korkmaz wins BCL Best Young Player honors

Sixers 2016 draft pick Furkan Korkmaz wins BCL Best Young Player honors

What has Furkan Korkmaz been up to these days? The Sixers’ 2016 26th overall pick received Best Young Player honors in the Basketball Champions League (BCL) this weekend.

Korkmaz, 19, stayed overseas after he was selected by the Sixers last year. He began the season playing for Anadolu Efes and joined Banvit on loan for the opportunity to get more playing time.

Korkmaz is averaging 11.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists over nine games with Banvit. On Friday he scored 13 points (4 for 6 from three), including a key late-game trey, in Banvit’s semifinals win over Monaco.

Korkmaz was aware of who was in attendance watching this performance: Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo.

“Of course, Colangelo’s visit brought extra motivation,” Korkmaz told Eurohoops.net. “My dream is to play in NBA. It’s always on my mind. I cannot think of it in the match. It did not create much pressure anyway. I just knew I had to add something, give something. I am happy to have accomplished this.”

Korkmaz is under contract with Anadolu Efes for next season.

Watch some of the highlights that earned him the Best Young Player award here:

Sixers 2016-17 player evaluation: Shawn Long

Sixers 2016-17 player evaluation: Shawn Long

Shawn Long

Position: Center

Status for 2017-18: Non-guaranteed for $1,312,611

Long in 2016-17
Long went undrafted last June and signed with the Sixers for Summer League ball. He stayed with the team through camp and played in seven preseason games before he was waived.

After that, Long spent the majority of his season in Delaware with the 87ers. The Louisiana-Lafayette product made an impression with his standout play down in the D-League. He even earned himself a D-League All-Star nod and was named to the All-NBA D-League Second Team after the season. He put together consistent double-doubles for the 87ers and averaged 20.2 points and 11.1 rebounds over 29.5 minutes. He even scored 45 points in a game at one point.

Still, all of this likely wouldn't have earned him a role if it weren't for injuries. Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor went down with injuries while Nerlens Noel was traded, opening a need for a third center as Tiago Splitter — acquired from Atlanta in the trade for Ersan Ilyasova — rehabbed his way back to the court. 

Making his debut on March 6, Long played in 18 games the rest of the way, putting up 8.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest for the Sixers. He shot 56 percent from the field while stepping out to hit 36.8 percent of his threes, helping stretch the floor for the struggling Sixers. Originally on the team on a 10-day contract, he earned himself a three-year deal that was guaranteed through the end of the 2016-17 season.

Signature game
Long earned one double-double in his 18-game stint. His 15-point, 10-rebound effort came in a loss to the Pacers in late March. His best and most efficient game came two nights earlier.

On March 24, Long needed just 19 minutes to score 18 points on 8 for 10 shooting. He grabbed seven rebounds as well as the Sixers earned a 117-107 win over the playoff-bound Chicago Bulls on the road.

Looking ahead to 2017-18
The Sixers have an offseason to get healthy and that means Long's time with the Sixers may come to at least a momentary end at the beginning of the season. Even if Okafor is traded, Embiid will return next fall alongside Richaun Holmes and the Sixers could easily bring in a veteran — possibly Splitter — to absorb the rest of the team's minutes at center. 

The 6-foot-9 Long won't necessarily be without a job. He'll have the chance to prove himself in summer league or training camp again and potentially earn a look with another team if the Sixers pass. If he does stay in Philly, expect him to be shuttled between the NBA and D-League in order to earn consistent minutes. The developing stretch-five did show something in his limited NBA minutes and likely hasn't seen the end of his NBA career.

On Long
"I think that Shawn Long has really grabbed his brief opportunities and been more than serviceable. He's shown reasons why he should be considered a genuine NBA player."

- Sixers head coach Brett Brown