New York Magazine

Drama, Drama, Drama

The NBA has never had more soap opera and rivalry. It’s fantastic.
LeBron James and his former teammate Kyrie Irving, left.

IN JANUARY, Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers’ seven-foot-tall, 23-year-old Twitter-fanatic man-child, pulled off one of those dunks that we would have called “posterizing” in 1997 but now, in a world without posters and wallpapered instead with video games, inevitably leads to one of those memes where Mortal Kombat music plays and the words FINISH HIM flash across the screen. Embiid, a massive man with supernatural athleticism, drove down the lane and, upon seeing defending MVP Russell Westbrook—a gleefully selfish sports villain and noted sartorial virtuoso—slipping underneath to draw a charge, exploded with such fury and violence that Westbrook essentially evaporated into a plume of smoke. Embiid stared at Westbrook jogging back on defense as the Oklahoma crowd stood, mouths agape, as if they’d just lost on a last-second buzzer-beater. (It was the first quarter.) ESPN’s Pablo Torre joked on Twitter, “Someone

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