The best budding rivalry in the NBA isn’t Cavaliers-Warriors. It doesn’t involve the Boston Celtics, nor does it involve Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. No, the best bubbling feud in basketball is between Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid and a particularly rude Lakers fan who rarely seems inclined to shut his mouth.
The feud began with a draft-night tweet from Embiid about Lakers first-round pick Lonzo Ball:
Please dunk on him so hard that his daddy runs on the court to save him.. https://t.co/cMvt5RYiSQ
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 22, 2017
It continued when this annoying Lakers fan called into Philadelphia sports talk radio station 97.5 The Fanatic and called out Embiid:
“I say when you don’t win, and don’t make the playoffs, and don’t even stay on the court long enough, that’s the best thing you can do, is tweet, make some stuff. Ain’t nobody else doing that because they’re working on their game in the gym. These guys ain’t played a game, always hurt, and at the bottom of the totem pole. So guess what? Get your asses off the goddamn Tweeter, and get in the gym!”
It really heated up, however, when Embiid took to Instagram to say three words that a lot of people have probably been repeating in their heads over the past several months. Warning, NSFW:
Joel Embiid says "f**k LaVar Ball."
— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) July 5, 2017
The NBA intervened after the Instagram Live f-bomb, and fined Embiid $10,000 for “using inappropriate language on social media.” Never mind that players use inappropriate language on social media all the time. Never mind that Embiid’s anger was completely warranted. The NBA decided to step in.
So Sixers fans felt the need to step in as well.
The money won’t actually go to Embiid, of course. It’ll go to the SPCA — the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The GoFundMe’s goal is to match Embiid’s fine and put the $10,000 toward a good cause.
And so far, Sixers fans are off to a respectable start. They’ve raised $2,335 in about 40 hours. They’ll crack 3,000 if actor, comedian and podcast Michael Rapaport stays true to his word:
There have been over 200 donations, many of them pledging $5 or $10. Some have given $21, a nod to Embiid’s jersey number.
And the donations have come from an eclectic cast of characters. Multiple Sam Hinkies have donated, as has the Ghost of Sam Hinkie. Multiple members of the Ball family, including Lonzo Ball, have participated. So have Steve Alford, Luke Walton and Vlade Divac. And Arturas Gudaitis, a key piece in the infamous 2015 Sixers-Kings pick swap trade. And Ansejs Pasecniks, a 2017 Sixers draft pick.
Then there are users going by names such as Trust TheProcess, Lick Face, Starched Collar, Big Collar Brand, Big Bust Brand and Hinkiedied Foroursins. And, naturally, there are multiple variations of “F— LaVar Ball.”
As for that rude Lakers fan? He hasn’t donated — or at least we’re going to assume he hasn’t. But he did respond to Embiid’s criticism in an interview with TMZ Sports by insulting the Sixers center’s intelligence:
“The reason he said that … his vocabulary is limited,” he told TMZ. “You gotta use cuss words when you don’t have no intellect. … He’s not intelligent at all. He’s worried about me? He should be worrying about playing.”