Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside said his exchange of words with Joel Embiid on social media Friday night was "all fun."
Whiteside told reporters Sunday:
"I'm going to talk trash back if somebody talks trash to me," "Maybe when I was younger, I would have been a little more angrier, I'd have been a little madder. But, you know, that's the kind of guy [Embiid] is. He makes jokes. He's a good player, so it's all fun to me. I can go all day with it.
"You know fans love it, man. Fans get into it. I love it, too because I know the next time we play him, he's going to give it all, he's going to go as hard as he can. And as a competitor, that's what you want. You want your opponent to play at his maximum speed."
Embiid called Whiteside a "softy" and said he would have fouled out in five minutes against him had Heat coaches not taken him out. He later posted a picture on Instagram with his location as "Whiteside," which he said was "EXTREMELY ASS."
"What did he call me: ass, or trash or something?" Whiteside said. "Come on, man. He knows that's not true. I'll be on his team's scouting report—for sure!"
Whiteside averaged 17.0 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game last season. He was the league's rebounding leader and a second-team All-Defensive selection, so it's safe to say he'll be on all scouting reports.
The 7-footer added that the trash talk was just in Embiid's nature.
"Embiid, he don't stop. He don't stop," Whiteside said. "My first foul, he said I was going to foul out. I said, 'Man, I'm not playing more than 15 minutes. You really think these fouls is a big deal?' He don't stop, man. But he's like that."
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed Embiid on social media, where he's almost constantly talking a big game with tongue firmly planted in cheek. As Whiteside says, it's all in good, competitive fun. Embiid is good for the NBA, and having a natural rival in Whiteside in the East will only make things more entertaining.