Which of course led to a “a little bit” of moralizing.
Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said before Saturday’s game against the Heat that it was “a little bit” disappointing that injured center Joel Embiid elected to hop onstage and dance at Friday’s Meek Mill concert in the Wells Fargo Center.
“Perhaps he crossed a line, perception-wise,” Colangelo added.
“It’s not the best thing to see when you wake up on Saturday morning and find out that was the case because I know the reaction,” Colangelo said of the video that surfaced of Embiid dancing, shirtless, at the show. “I understand some of the potential concern out there.”
Colangelo and Brown both emphasized that Embiid, who injured his left knee when he landed awkwardly after dunking against Portland on Jan. 20, has been moving well on the court in recent workouts.
As for the dancing, Colangelo said, “Being at a concert wasn’t disappointing. Probably being onstage and dancing was a little bit, given the circumstances and given the potential reaction. It’s understandable.”
Colangelo called Embiid “highly responsible” and added, “It’s hard to say to someone like Joel that has been a tremendous character and tremendous citizen for us, that he’s doing anything untoward or wrong.”
If Embiid did nothing that created a reasonable chance of aggravating his injury, the 76ers should have defended him and left it at that. Dancing is not the same physical challenge as playing an NBA game. Embiid is clearly passionate about helping his team. He should be allowed to have fun in his free time, and the 76ers should rebut those concerned by an apparently faulty perception of his health.
If Embiid’s injury requires him not to dance, the 76ers should address that. There have been numerous reports of Embiid not being steadfast enough in previous rehabs.
This middle-ground response is lacking, one way or another.
But if we take the 76ers at their word — that Embiid’s dancing was a problem only of perception — they owe him better public support.