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February 16, 2018

Joel Embiid

Los Angeles, California

Q. So you're participating in just about every event this weekend. Have you thought about maybe the mascot competition or announcing a game or something like that?
JOEL EMBIID: Oh, no. I actually wanted to participate in the three-point contest, though. Maybe next year. But I'm excited to be here. It's kind of my first time, so it's going to be fun.

Q. Was there ever a thought of like missing out on one of these things?
JOEL EMBIID: No, I want to play, you know. The other night my ankle didn't feel so good. I've been pushing in the previous games, so it was a little bit [sore]. But the last two days it's been feeling better. But there was never really a thought about missing out on any of these events. It's my first time, so I'm going to have fun.

Q. Any minutes restriction?
JOEL EMBIID: Probably in the first, the Rising Star, there is really no point in me playing that, but I just want to show my face and have fun. But in the All-Star Game, I'm not sure. I don't know. But there haven't been many restrictions the whole season, so that word has been gone for a while.

Q. What was your first memory of getting to learn about the NBA? How did you come to learn about it as a kid?
JOEL EMBIID: Well, I started when I was about 14 years old, 14 or 15. That was when I first watched the NBA Finals. It was the Lakers against Orlando, and that's how Kobe [Bryan] became my favorite player. And that's how I wanted to get into basketball. And I started playing a year later.

Q. Who are you excited to go up against?
JOEL EMBIID: Oh, I think the most -- probably the most important game is on Sunday. Today I'm just looking to have fun. I'm going to kind of step out of the way and let the other guys do their thing, but I'm excited about Sunday.

Q. If you got to pick your own team for the All-Star team, you got to pick a rookie, which rookie would you put on your team and why?
JOEL EMBIID: Ben Simmons. He's having a great season. He's helping us win a lot of games, and I feel like he deserves to be an All-Star.

Q. Who is a better comedian, you or Blake Griffin?
JOEL EMBIID: Blake is really good. I know he's been on camera. I haven't really been on camera a lot. I would say him for now.

Q. When you talk about everything you've been through, right, and there were some people who said you wouldn't play, now that you're an All-Star, not only an All-Star, but you're playing in the Skills Challenge and the Rising Stars, have you thought a lot about that, what this moment means to you?
JOEL EMBIID: It's really special. You guys called me a bust when I missed those two years. But I worked really hard, and I went through a lot missing those two years, losing my brother. I wanted to quit basketball, and it was hard. Being away from the court, I'm glad I just kept pushing.

Now that I'm here, I've still got a long way to go. I'm not anywhere close to where I want to get. But now that I'm here, it's sweeter being an All-Star starter, too, for the first time.

So I'm excited. You know, just I can't really explain how it feels. It's more special because of everything I've been through.

Q. Did you ever expect it to be like this, though? I know you're an All-Star, but did you ever expect that your second year playing to get all the national love that you're getting, international love, did you expect it to come this easy?
JOEL EMBIID: Well, coming into the league I thought it was going to take a lot of time because I was still -- I mean, I've shown some flashes, but I don't think I was good enough. I thought it was going to take a lot of time.

Then last year me playing, and when I came back I didn't know how good I was going to be. I played last year, and although it was only 31 games, I kind of figured out I was one of the best players in the league. So that's what I saw.

This year I came in, I didn't really do anything during the summer because I was rehabbing and I didn go through training camp. But I was confident. I knew what I had to do. I wouldn't say it's easy, but it's a little bit easier.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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