When he’s healthy, Joel Embiid has shown he has what it takes to be among the NBA’s best. But “NBA superstar” isn’t what the 7-foot Philadelphia 76ers center had in mind growing up. Instead, as he first told Vulture over the summer, he wanted to be an astronaut.
This week, fresh off a 32-point performance in the Sixers’ last-second win over the Orlando Magic, Embiid doubled down on his desire to get into space. Featured on the digital cover of GQ, the 2018 All-Star told Clay Skipper that he learned on a visit to NASA in 2017 that “he definitely can’t fit” in a spaceship. Yet he remains committed to working for the company after his playing days are over, suggesting he’s got more than enough smarts to fulfill those astronaut dreams.
Embiid says he’s not so sure he’s as good with numbers anymore. But he’s undeterred. He figures maybe he can get into some program that’ll help put him on the path to NASA. The ever-confident Embiid says it’d be “easy” to pick up rocket science once he’s done with this job, dunking on people. Despite the obvious hurdles, he estimates that he could be the first seven-footer in space in a year and a half, if he really put in the time.
“I’m just too busy right now,” he says.
Embiid hinting he could learn rocket science and work his way into space in just a year and a half is bold, but it’s hardly surprising coming from a guy who’s known as much for his tweets as his dunks. (Even Jalen Ramsey’s claim he could make the NHL with six months of training seems tame compared to this one.) On the flip side, at least if Embiid is correct and does live out his dreams, he’ll also be able to confirm for Kyrie Irving that the Earth isn’t flat.
In the meantime, the Sixers star should have more than enough opportunities to make it big on his own planet, where he and the 76ers are trying to be NBA playoff contenders for the second straight year.
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