Joel Embiid: Tweets from Burner Account of Bryan Colangelo's Wife 'Hurtful'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2018

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 4: Joel Embiid #21 of Team Africa reacts during the game against Team World during the 2018 NBA Africa Game as part of the Basketball Without Borders Africa on August 4, 2018 at the Time Square Sun Arena in Pretoria, South Africa. 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 the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The wife of former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo singled out Sixers center Joel Embiid in a number of critical tweets sent from burner accounts, and the All-Star is using that as fuel during his preparations for the 2018-19 season.

During an interview with ESPN (h/t Pro Basketball Talk's Dan Feldman), Embiid said the tweets by Barbara Bottini were "hurtful" but have led him to a renewed focus as he trains in the offseason:

"It was hurtful because of the stuff that was said in those tweets. But at the end of the day, I know who I am as a person, as a player. And I know a lot of people, they're always telling me I'm great but I have a lot of stuff to work on. And actually, I appreciated everything that was said about me because if it was true—even if it wasn't—that stays in my mind. And it makes me want to get better. The stuff where they were saying I wasn't happy, that makes me want to work harder on my body. Or if they're saying that I couldn't do anything, it makes me want to work harder and get better. So, actually, I love it. I appreciated it. It was great. It was great for my game."

Embiid took everything in stride after the burner accounts were identified. He went through and "liked" tweets in which he was singled out:

Rob Dauster @RobDauster

He’s liking the burner tweets now. https://t.co/dwwGqVIRVA

The 24-year-old also posted a satirical message about former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie:

Joel Embiid @JoelEmbiid

Joel told me that @samhinkie IS BETTER AND SMARTER THAN YOU @AlVic40117560 #BurnerAccount

Colangelo and the Sixers parted ways in June. In a statement, he said his wife was behind the burner accounts and that he had no knowledge of their existence, nor did he disclose any sensitive Sixers-related information to her.

Regardless, Embiid's comments further illustrate why Colangelo had to go. The trust between the front office and the players appeared to be broken. At the least, the saga could have permanently alienated Philadelphia's best player.

Embiid's five-year extension kicks in this season, so there wasn't an immediate threat he'd leave. But he could've forced the Sixers to make a difficult decision if he had demanded a trade, not unlike Kyrie Irving's engineered exit from the Cleveland Cavaliers two years from free agency.

Embiid averaged 22.9 points and 11.0 rebounds per game in 2017-18, establishing himself as one of the NBA's best centers. If the Sixers' offseason drama motivates him to get even better on the court, then that will provide a nice silver lining from what might have been a disastrous situation.