Joel Embiid on killing lions as a kid, Ben Simmons' recovery, and Donald Trump

Joel Embiid on killing lions as a kid, Ben Simmons' recovery, and Donald Trump

Joel Embiid is legitimately hilarious. We've seen it on Twitter for a long time now. And we're starting to see it more and more in his interactions with his teammates and the media.

This wasn't something that happened overnight. Embiid has been having fun for a long time.

We were reminded of one such story thanks to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical sitting down with Embiid and Sixers coach Brett Brown for his podcast.

One of the questions Woj asked Joel was about the perceptions Americans had of him as a young man coming to the United States from his native Cameroon to play basketball.

"When they think about Africans, they think about us just running around with lions and tigers and all those other animals. When I got to Kansas, I kind of used that to my advantage, talking about how I killed a lion. That's how I became a man, because when I was six years old I had to go into the jungle and kill a lion and carry it on my back to bring back to my village."

"And they bought into it."

I mean, I probably would have believed him.

"The story might be true, it might be false," Embiid added. "Nobody would ever know now. If anybody tries me, they'll find out." 

But Embiid can have a serious side when he needs to. After having one of the best Tweets of election night about America tanking after Donald Trump won on Tuesday, he gave Woj a much more serious and thoughtful answer.

"Growing up in Cameroon, I always thought the U.S. was just amazing. It was just a dream. I thought it was heaven. And then coming here a couple years ago, the U.S. is still nice, but it's not like what I thought it was going to be. With the election going on and Donald Trump getting elected, I mean I don't usually get into politics but with the way he's been acting -- talking about racism and women -- it's hard to understand why people elected him. It just shows you the way people think. Racism isn't over and people are still behind him."

"I feel like it's not going to be as bad as people make it out to be. I hope it's not going to be like that."

There's plenty of other interesting stuff touched on as well. From Embiid's extremely trying rehab, to the death of his brother, to the fun he's having finally playing for the Sixers, and even how he's helping Ben Simmons deal with injury coming into the NBA.

"The main thing I've been telling him is patience. That patience is going to pay off. The first time I kind of rushed everything," Embiid said. "He has the team to back him up on that. Nobody is going to rush him."

You can listen to the full 45-minute podcast here.

Catching up on some big Eagles stories from Week 1 of OTAs

Catching up on some big Eagles stories from Week 1 of OTAs

It was great to be back at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday and take in an Eagles practice, even if it was non-contact. There’s a lot of buzz around the team right now, and minimal time to cover everything, so let’s dive into some of the storylines that slipped through the cracks during the first week of OTAs.

The thought that the Eagles are secretly fuming over Carson Wentz seeing a private quarterback guru seems ridiculous. It’s not uncommon for NFL players -- even quarterbacks -- to seek council during the offseason. Tom Brady did it, and I don’t recall any drama ever unfolding with the Patriots as a result of that. Perhaps some mild concern has been expressed behind closed doors, as Wentz’s mechanics are a constant work in progress, and Eagles coaches surely prefer he learn the methods they’re teaching. Then again, I highly doubt somebody earned the title of “quarterback guru” if they’re not passing along standard NFL techniques. It was an even bigger reach to suggest Doug Pederson’s displeasure over this development was on display during his press conference on Tuesday.

I’m not one to place a whole lot of stock into OTAs, but seeing rookie cornerback Rasul Douglas on the field with the first-team defense in nickel situations is a promising sign. He didn’t look out of place, either. At 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, Douglas matched up well with Alshon Jeffery. I could see his size being an asset against NFC East rivals like Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall and Terrelle Pryor -- bigger receivers the Eagles will face two times each this season. While performance in OTAs typically means squat, it was about this time last year when Jalen Mills began ascending the depth chart, and he wound up playing quite a bit. It’s early, but given the situation at cornerback, not at all far-fetched to anticipate a similar role coming for Douglas.

While I agree with the premise Nelson Agholor could improve and go on to have a respectable NFL career, Eagles teammate Brandon Graham isn’t really the most relatable example. It’s time for the seemingly annual reminder that Graham’s progression was derailed by a major knee injury as a rookie. He essentially missed the following season, and was buried on the depth chart upon returning. A year later, the defense switched to a 3-4, which was an adjustment as well. Yet, time and time again, Graham would perform at a high level whenever he got into games, finally earning his starting job back in 2015. Agholor has been a starter the past two seasons, and aside from a high ankle sprain his rookie year, he’s been relatively healthy. What’s the excuse here? Agholor may be a late bloomer, but Graham’s experience breaking into the league was vastly different.

The revelation that Vinny Curry was affected by a knee injury last season can be taken one of two ways. Some may see it as an excuse for his modest performance after signing a massive contract extension a year ago, which currently looks like an expensive mistake. I prefer to view the injury news as another reason to give Curry a slight pass. We’ve all seen what an explosive pass rusher he could be, racking up 9.0 sacks in 2014 while playing only one-third of the Eagles’ defensive snaps. If he was hampered by the knee -- Curry admitted wearing a brace for much of the season -- that could certainly help explain why he often seemed invisible. Even if he simply wasn’t very good, Curry has another opportunity to prove himself in 2017. Might as well take the optimistic outlook.

Mike Schmidt shows off new sunscreen dispensers at Citizens Bank Park

Mike Schmidt shows off new sunscreen dispensers at Citizens Bank Park

Phillies legend Mike Schmidt is teaming up with Mayor Kenney, the city of Philadelphia, Independence Blue Cross, and the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation to help protect you from the sun's harmful rays.

As part of the Sun Smart America initiative, the Phillies will place 12 sunscreen dispensers around Citizens Bank Park in addition to 6 dispensers located elsewhere around the city. 

This Sunday, May 28th, is also Melanoma Awareness Day at the ballpark when the Phillies host the Cincinnati Reds at 1:35. 

Schmidt will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and try to promote the importance of protecting one's skin from the sun. He knows from a trying personal experience.

"The sun almost took my life," Schmidt told the Palm Beach Post after his battle with skin cancer. He spent months going through heavy radiation and chemotherapy and is currently cancer free.

The sunscreen dispensers at the ballpark can be found at all entry gates as well as on the Rooftop, Pavillion, and Terrace levels beginning on Sunday.