BOSTON - Joel Embiid gave a special shoutout to Sixers fans - twice - for their encouragement that got him to the point of a contract extension.
"The fan support is amazing," Embiid said Tuesday. "I don't think without them I'd get this extension. They did a lot for me. Even though I don't think they know that, I think they pushed me a lot."
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Embiid signed a five-year, $148 million extension with the Sixers on Tuesday. He appreciates all those who have stood behind him during the past three years filled with a mix of injuries and promise (see story). While some players block out the noise of the crowd, Embiid soaks it up. The ovations and reactions fuel him.
"I've got to thank the fans a lot because the support they show me, the love they show me, that pushes me every day," Embiid said. "Every time I'm on the court, every time the fans cheer for me, I just want to go out there and make a play for them to cheer even more."
A massive new deal isn't curbing Embiid's desire to interact with the fans out and about in Philadelphia.
"The city has been amazing to me," he said. "I love all the love I get when I walk outside and when I go places in town. I just love it."
Embiid also wants to give back to the fans in his native Cameroon. He is setting up a foundation that will be run by his parents.