"I’m going to criticize guys if they deserve it."
Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal have been critical of Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid throughout the playoffs, most notably during the team's 36-point loss in Game 5, in which Embiid finished with 13 points, six rebounds and eight turnovers. At the time, Barkley said of the 25-year old center, “He walks around like he’s on his death bed. He drains the energy out of the team."
Embiid reacted to the criticism prior to Sunday's Game 7, telling reporters:
“Charles, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about sometimes. He just be saying whatever he wants to.”
Naturally, Embiid's comments were addressed during Sunday's taping of Inside The NBA. Barkley maintains that Embiid is a "hell of a player," but says anybody upset with the criticism he dishes out can kiss his ass.
“I’ve always said he’s a hell of a player. If he can stay healthy he’ll be one of the greatest ever – IF he can stay healthy. But listen, I’m going to criticize guys if they deserve it. And they can kiss my ass if they don’t like it.”
Embiid has battled illnesses and injuries throughout the Sixers' second-round series with the Raptors, but he was on the court for nearly all 48 minutes in Game 7, including the final play when Kawhi Leonard sent the Sixers packing.
After the game, in which Embiid recorded 21 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in the Game 7 defeat, was asked where "The Process" stands now, and how tired he was after playing nearly the full 48 minutes last night. His response, "I don't give a damn about 'The Process. And no, I'm not tired."