Joel Embiid is still claiming he had no idea what his infamous Ben Simmons reaction tweet meant.
Speaking on SportsCenter early Thursday, Embiid tried to convince ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt that he didn’t know what the image in the viral tweet — which featured a well-dressed man in sunglasses quietly posing for a photo — meant.
“I just say, you know, a nice man in a nice suit with glasses on,” Embiid said, attempting to hold back a large smile. “I just thought it was a great picture.”
Embiid’s description of the image isn’t wrong, but he’s leaving out why it became a meme. It was originally posted in 2015 by music producer Big Fendi, who took a picture of himself at his greatest hater’s funeral to make sure he was dead. The meme has become a way for people to react online when something happens to someone you hate, and is also famous for the “RIPBozo” hashtag.
Obviously, Embiid knows that. But he wouldn’t be the All-Star Twitter troll he is if he just admitted it, even as Van Pelt called him out.
“I’m a grown man, and you’re not going to sit there in Milwaukee in your nice room there and just lie to my face like this,” Van Pelt said. “We know what that’s about, and that’s OK — you can say something without saying anything.”
Despite the pushback, Embiid didn’t budge from his line that he had no idea what the image represented, where it came from, and why it went viral.
“You see my name on Twitter — Joel ‘Troel’ Embiid, that Troel is there for a reason,” Embiid said. “I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m just going with the vibe, and the vibe told me that’s a nice man in a suit on that looked great, and I should probably post him.”
“Yeah, right now, when the guy that was here is gone, got traded. I’ll just post it now,” Van Pelt responded.
There’s obviously not much love lost between the two stars.
During his introduction in Brooklyn earlier this week, Simmons said he hadn’t spoken with Embiid since the trade. Embiid said the same to reporters last week, calling the entire situation “unfortunate.” The Nets will travel to Philadelphia to take on the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 10, a date Embiid has circled on his calendar.
“You know Philadelphia fans. That’s going to be incredible, whether it’s the boos or the cheers, it’s going to be insane,” Embiid said. “We know it’s a regular season game, but there’s going to be something extra to it.”