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Joel Embiid on Lonzo Ball: 'People Think I Hate Him, but I Love Him'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2017

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 11:  Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during the game against the Golden State Warriors on November 11, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Noah Graham/Getty Images

Joel Embiid understands the media coverage of his "beef" with Lonzo Ball. The Philadelphia 76ers center just wants to make one thing clear: It's all in good fun from his perspective.

"I love Lonzo," Embiid told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. "The whole situation with them, I think it's just fun. I love what he's doing, especially with his own shoe. He's staking his own place. People think I hate him, but I love him."

Embiid has thrown jabs—some subtle and others not so much—in Ball's direction since draft night. He tweeted at Ben Simmons during June's draft, telling the Sixers rookie to "please dunk on him so hard that his daddy [LaVar Ball] runs on the court to save him."

Olivia Simmons, Ben's sister, had made a similar comment after LaVar Ball told Fox Sports 1's Kristine Leahy to "stay in yo lane" during an appearance on the network.

"I just meant it to be funny," Embiid said. "Even the thing I said 'Oh please dunk on him,' I just took it from [Simmons'] sister, who said that like weeks before that."

LaVar Ball responded to the tweet, saying of Embiid and Simmons: "These guys ain't played a game, always hurt, and at the bottom of the totem pole." The war of words concluded—at least before now—when Embiid was fined $10,000 for saying "f--k LaVar Ball" in an Instagram Live video.

Embiid also appeared to mock Lonzo Ball's unorthodox shot before a game against the Houston Rockets last month.

The Sixers will be in Los Angeles for a pair of games this week, playing the Clippers on Monday before an Embiid-Ball showdown Wednesday night.

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