Stephen A. Smith calls out LeBron James for his comments on Joel Embiid: ‘Why you lying?’

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sports media personality Stephen A. Smith recently responded to LeBron James for calling out the media after Joel Embiid received criticism for sitting out against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets back on Jan. 27.

“LeBron James, why you lying?” Smith said. “Who talked about Joel Embiid and questioned his injury? What they were making the argument about is that if you could have played in Golden State against the [Golden State] Warriors, then you could have played a couple of games earlier against the reigning defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets. What they were saying is, he hadn’t suffered that injury until he got fell on by [Jonathan] Kuminga during the Warriors game.”

After the NBA world learned this week that Embiid is dealing with a meniscus injury, James took to social media and made his feelings known.

Embiid has arguably played as well as any player in the NBA this season. He is averaging a league-high 35.3 points per game to go along with 11.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists per contest while shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from deep.

But Embiid has appeared in just 34 of the 76ers’ 47 games thus far, meaning if he misses five more games for the team between now and the end of the regular season, he will be ineligible for the MVP award as well as many other honors. The NBA has a new rule that players must play at least 65 games during the regular season in most cases in order to be eligible for major awards.

The Sixers have been tough to beat with Embiid on the floor, but without him, the team has struggled to win games. Philadelphia suffered losses to the Nuggets on Jan. 27 and Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 29 without Embiid in the lineup. Plus, the 76ers just barely managed to beat the Utah Jazz in their most recent game on Feb. 1, considering the team won by only three points.

Philadelphia has lost four of its last five games and fallen to the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference at 30-17. But the Sixers are just one game back of the New York Knicks — who are riding a whopping nine-game winning streak — for the conference’s No. 3 seed.

The 76ers have a winnable game on the horizon. They will take on the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday — who are losers of seven of their last 10 games — before they host the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 5.

It’s great to see James come to the defense of one of the faces of the league in Embiid, but at the same time, Smith’s argument certainly contains some interesting points.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.