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76ers’ Joel Embiid Enjoys Villain Role Amid Knicks Fans’ ‘F— Embiid’ Sings: ‘I Love It’

Joel Embiid is starting to fill a role that many NBA stars before him have filled: public enemy No. 1 of Knicks fans.

Embiid was frequently jeered during the Knicks’ 112-106 Game 5 upset by the 76ers. He battled several ailments — including a lingering knee injury and a migraine from earlier in the morning — and posted a triple-double to help Philadelphia avoid elimination.

Embiid accomplished all that while facing “F-Embiid!” chants from the crowd at Madison Square Garden, and seemed completely unbothered by being targeted by Knicks fans hungry for a series victory.

“It’s not hostile,” Embid said when asked about his reception. “I love New York.”

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Embiid went on to explain that New York is his “favorite city in the world” and that he has had a place in the city for five years.

As such, Embiid knows exactly how New York fans operate.

“They always pick their guy, and it looked like they picked me,” he explained. “If I have to be the punching bag and you hear ‘F Embiid’ a lot, that’s OK. I love it.”

Of course, Embiid hasn’t done much to endear himself to the New York crowd during this series. They were particularly upset when Embiid hit Knicks star Jalen Brunson in the head while trying to knock the ball out of the point guard’s hands.

That resulted in hearty boos for the Sixers center and earned him a social media insult from rapper and Knicks superfan Fat Joe.

“My fist kinda stinks because Joel Embiid just walked by and dabbed me,” Fat Joe said. ‘My s… smells a bit. It smells bad.’

It’s not surprising that Embiid uses these chants and insults as motivation. And he has no problem with it, as long as the fans don’t cross the line.

“Usually what gets me going in those situations is because you want to put yourself in those situations and shut them up,” he said. “But as long as you stick to basketball, they’ve done a great job of just supporting their team. They’ve been great. They’re the Knicks. They’re excited about everything, and they’ve done a great job.”

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Embiid’s comments are vastly different from what he said about the “disappointing” performances by 76ers fans in Games 3 and 4.

‘I love our fans’ Embiid told reporters. “I think it’s a shame and I’m not calling them out, but it’s disappointing. Obviously you have a lot of Knicks fans and they’re on the road and I’ve never seen it, and I’ve been here for 10 years.

“Yeah, it kind of pisses me off, especially because Philly is considered a sports town. They’ve always shown up and I don’t think that should happen. Yeah. It’s not okay.”

It will be interesting to see how Philly fans react to Embiid’s message ahead of Game 6. The 76ers need to win at home to force a Game 7. Otherwise, the Knicks will advance to the second round of the NBA Playoffs.