The afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 4, around 1:30 p.m., Drexel students were awed by a visit from Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid, who was spotted playing tennis on campus at the Buckley Tennis Courts.
Embiid played with Sixers manager, Daryl Morey, and two others in a friendly doubles match at the 34th and Lancaster tennis courts behind 7–11.
This wasn’t Embiid’s first time on campus, either; he was spotted on the same courts at least once before this term.
Over 45 spectators gathered to watch Embiid play tennis, and he took pictures with fans from behind the protection of the court fences once he was done playing. However, he and Morey declined to give an interview to The Triangle because of the pandemic.
Miguel Maquiran, a rising senior, spotted Embiid when he was walking by the tennis courts on his way to play basketball. Maquiran saw someone tall playing tennis, and that caught his attention because he remembered hearing that Embiid had played on campus a couple of weeks ago. This time, Maquiran found Embiid himself.
“It’s just crazy watching him on TV and seeing these freak athletes in person, it’s just something else. Definitely just seeing him on campus […] casually playing tennis is just like, wow, he’s one of us,” said Maquiran, who also enjoys playing basketball. Although Maquiran likes the Sixers, he is a Knicks fan.
Isabel Kuzy is a junior student-athlete part of Drexel’s Soccer Team. She found out Embiid was on campus thanks to her teammates and went with some of them to Buckley to watch the basketball player.
“I feel blessed by his presence,” Kuzy said, referring to Embiid. He is Kuzy‘s favorite player at the Sixers. “Very inspiring to see a dual athlete, a beast on both courts: basketball and tennis.”
Drexel Tennis is only affiliated with the courts during their practice times, so they had no involvement in Embiid’s visit. Some wondered how Embiid gained access to the courts, as a Dragon Card is required for entrance — although the gate is usually unlocked for access to all. Dragon Card holders, however, do get priority over others to use the courts. Embiid enjoyed full access to the usually busy courts, with no other matches being played next to him.
Although it is unclear why Embiid chooses these courts in particular, Drexel students and spectators were well-behaved and the visit was a safe one.
“I know the big question on everyone’s mind is what’s gonna happen to Ben Simmons after his interesting play of performance,” Maquiran said. “But I know that they recently got Andre Drummond, and obviously he’s got a feud with Embiid, so I’m excited to see how that goes, and hopefully they could go all the way in the championship. That’d be really cool.”
“For the next season, I am definitely expecting Joel to take the team on his back and lead us to the championship,” Kuzy said as she watched the game with some of her teammates. “Trust the process: go Sixers and go Birds!”