The I-76ers

Embiid Becomes Emb11d; Chooses #11


Tonight, some big news broke about Joel Embiid. No, not when he’ll make his 76ers debut, but what uniform number he’ll be wearing as a Sixer!

So what does this mean for the Sixers? Well, nothing really, but I consider myself a basketball jersey connoisseur and need to dig deeper into this manner.

Embiid already laid out for everyone the obvious “EMB11D” connection that comes from this. His #21 that he wore at Kansas is currently taken by Thaddeus Young. His attempted dedication to Dikembe Mutombo of wearing #55 was axed due to newly-acquired guard Pierre Jackson taking that number as well. A possible #34 tribute to Hakeem Olajuwon is impossible due to the retirement of Charles Barkley’s numbers. Emb11d had to think outside of the box.

Embiid becomes the 26th player in Sixers history to wear #11. Here is a list of those players courtesy of Basketball-Reference:

Leroy Chollet (1950-1951)
Don Lofgran (1951)
Earl Lloyd (1953-1958)
Ed Conlin (1958-1959)
Frank Selvy (1960)
Swede Halbrook (1961-1962)
Freddie Crawford (1971)
Freddie Boyd (1975-1976)
Caldwell Jones (1977-1982)
Leo Rautins (1984)
Voise Winters (1986)
Bob McAdoo (1986)
Jim Lampley (1987)
Jim Rowinski (1989)
Manute Bol (1991-1994)
Kevin Pritchard (1995)
Vernon Maxwell (1996-2001)
Doug Overton (1998-1999)
Ira Bowman (2000)
Raja Bell (2002)
Todd MacCulloch (2003)
Bobby Jones (2007)
Gordan Giricek (2008)
Jrue Holiday (2010-2013)
Eric Maynor (2014)

There are some notables up there. Jrue Holiday was an All-Star in 2013 and a headliner in the Nerlens Noel trade. Manute Bol was a part of the Sixers’ previous “Two Towers” attempt with Shawn Bradley. Bob McAdoo spent the last season of his Hall of Fame career in the NBA in Philly. Caldwell Jones made the All-Defensive First Team twice as a Sixer.

Todd MacCulloch wore notably wore #50 when he was a member of the franchise’s 2001 NBA Finals team. After a year spent with the Nets, he came back to Philly for the 2002-03 and wore #11. Why the switch? He stated, and I’m paraphrasing a 12-year-old interview, that #50 conjured up images of a fat guy stumbling down the court ungracefully. #11 made people think of a lightning quick player that could get up-and-down the court. Did it work for MacCulloch? It’s pretty obvious that it did because he has since become the greatest pinball player to ever live, even better than the guy that Pete Townshend once saw.

Embiid’s athleticism for a seven-footer evokes a vision of a #11 Embiid flying towards the rim, as he throws down an alley-oop from Michael Carter-Williams. He’ll be that lightning-quick center wearing #11 that MacCulloch could never have been.