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.”
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.
That's why Embiid wore 24 last night after Bobby Jones gave him his blessing. To make things even better, Embiid scored 24 points last night. To make it unbelievable, his 24th point was a fadeaway jumper - he yelled 'Kobe' while he drained it.