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Joel Embiid is the NBA’s most modern avatar: He’s a seven-foot superstar with unexplainable agility, a lovable social-media troll, and the namesake savior in the Philadelphia 76ers’ daring “Trust the Process” rebuild.He also spent two years on the bench, his body failing him repeatedly while fans labeled him a bust."I always say, ' My life is a movie,' " Embiid tells me."Everything happened so fast."Here's a guy who didn't play basketball until he was 15 and has, at 24, joined the first tier of NBA stars, with a positionless skill set that looks an awful lot like the future of basketball—this despite spending more time injured on the bench than in uniform in his five seasons.I'm sure some guys end up getting married to women that have been around.And maybe on the court they also get told"—here he lowers his voice to a whisper—"Hey, I fucked your wife.")About 15 minutes later, Embiid's bodyguard, Bubs, shows up, carrying a party-size aluminum foil tray of…chicken.This seems like an exercise in excess—not just that Joel Embiid has a bodyguard but that the man arrives with jerk wings.

So maybe he can't tell this story yet, because he has no idea how this movie ends. Which means: We've just dropped into the world of Joel Embiid right when the wild, true story of Joel Embiid—crazy as it may already be—is just starting to get really interesting..For Joel Embiid was still in Cameroon then, just 6 years old. He'd been sent away from his village, part of a tribal initiation. The young Embiid took his spear and shoved it through the lion's mouth.Then he returned to his village triumphant, the lion draped over his shoulders.His is a At age 15, as a skinny Cameroonian pushing seven feet, Embiid shows up to his first ever basketball practice.It took him months to persuade his father—fearful that the game was too dangerous—to let him play. He remembers the feeling as "regular, because I'm seven feet." Basketball intrigues him.

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