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“If it wasn’t for Kobe I probably would have been playing volleyball somewhere”


A lot of players opened up about the impact Kobe had on their life. Joel Embiid's story is ready for the movies. A 16-year-old Joel was watching the 2010 Finals and saw Kobe Bryant play. That's when he decided he was going to be a basketball player. Choosing to be an athlete at 16 is a tough sell for every kid - not a lot of parents want their child to skip college and go into a profession with very slim chances of making it. Doing that in Africa is a whole different bag of chips.

“After watching it, I just wanted to be like him; I wanted to play basketball. It took a lot of convincing for my dad to let me play basketball. A year later, in 2011, Joel finally got a chance to start playing, and if it wasn't for that moment, I don't think I would've been here.” 

Joel Embiid

Kobe inspired Embiid so much that he persisted with his father for a year before he got to play basketball. If you're a kid in Cameroon and want to be an athlete, soccer is the game. Basketball?? That's a long shot. For Embiid, it was all about Kobe. Without Kobe, who knows if Embiid would ever go to the States and made $165 million doing something he loves. 

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