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76ers' Joel Embiid says he owes his long-range shooting skills to 'random white people' on YouTube

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid never watched NBA games while growing up in Cameroon. And he only started playing basketball three months before getting an offer to play for a high school in Florida.

So how did a guy who got kicked out of the gym and mocked by his teammates on the first day of high school basketball practice develop the skills that led him to become an NBA All-Star in 2018?

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With a simple — and probably unexpected — YouTube search.

Here’s how Embiid tells it in his essay headlined “It’s Story Time,” published Friday on the Players’ Tribune:

“So I’m chilling one night, and I go on YouTube, and I’m thinking I’m about to figure this shooting thing out.

“I go to the search box like….

“HOW TO SHOOT 3 POINTERS.

“Nah.

“HOW TO SHOOT GOOD FORM

“Nah.

“Then the light bulb went off, man. I typed in the magic words.

“WHITE PEOPLE SHOOTING 3 POINTERS.

“Listen, I know it’s a stereotype, but have you ever seen a normal, 30-year-old white guy shoot a three-pointer? That elbow is tucked, man. The knees are bent. The follow-through is perfect. Always. ...

Philadelphia's Joel Embiid signals after hitting a three-pointer during the 2018 NBA All-Star game at Staples Center.
Philadelphia's Joel Embiid signals after hitting a three-pointer during the 2018 NBA All-Star game at Staples Center. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

“Those are the guys I learned from on YouTube. Just random people shooting threes with perfect form. … It was crazy, because getting some range changed my whole game. Teams couldn’t play off me anymore, and I started doing a lot better.”

Embiid shares several entertaining stories in the essay, including about the time in his life when he’d yell “KOBE!” every time he shot the ball and finally getting to meet and play against the Lakers legend years later.

He wraps up the article by thanking Kobe Bryant and several others who influenced his game. The last people he mentions? “Thank you, Random White People,” Embiid wrote.

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