Kevin Durant and Draymond Green have no qualms with Joel Embiid’s trash talking.
They like it.
From the Mercury News‘ Mark Medina:
With a simple jab move and pump fake, Warriors forward Kevin Durant blew by Sixers center Joel Embiid for an easy dunk. But Embiid is a rising NBA star and has plenty of pride, so he was not going to let Durant show him up for nothing.
So after Durant drew a foul on the play, Embiid starting jawing at the Warriors’ star forward. Durant snapped right back before the two drew technical fouls in what the Warriors’ star considered a significant turning point in the Warriors’ 135-114 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday at Oracle Arena.
“He talks a lot of [trash],” Durant said. “I needed some energy. I knew if I threw a couple of words at him it would hype me up. So it was fun.”
Green shared Durant’s sentiments (again via Medina):
“I’m a fan of the way he plays and carries himself, the talking and all that,” Green said. “I like it. I think more guys should be that way.”
Surely not everyone feels this way. Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat would be one example.
Appreciating some good verbal jabs also isn’t difficult when you play for the Golden State Warriors. They’re the reigning champs. They’re the heavy favorites to go all the way again. Few people, if any, would dare pick against them. And when you’re that celebrated, that dominant, you must look for ways to invent slights and keep yourselves engaged and hyped up. Jabbering with someone like Embiid, who is exceptionally vocal on the court, is a good way to establish a game within a game. You can see why the Warriors would like that. It helps them.
Beyond this, though, pretty much every NBA player can probably embrace some good-spirited verbal sparrings. They’re part of the game. Things can get out of control, particularly when contests are close, but that just adds to the moment. Only when it’s unwarranted, or unjustifiably personal, does it really become a problem. And we’ve yet to hear tales of Embiid going the Kevin Garnett, Honey Nut Cheerios route, so him being a chatterbox probably isn’t something rival squads despise.