Philadelphia 76ers: The historical significance of Joel Embiid’s All-Star hat trick

(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images) /

By earning his third straight trip to the All-Star game as a starter, Joel Embiid has entered into a very exclusive group of Philadelphia 76ers performers.

For the third straight time in as many seasons, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has been named an All-Star game starter.

Now to fans in the 215, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Embiid has balled out over the first half of the season despite a conscious effort to limit his minutes in lieu of an eventual postseason run. Still, it’s nice to see a hometown hero earn national recognition as one of the top players at his position, especially when you consider how the All-Star starting votes are tabulated.

You see, unlike the reserves who are decided by the team’s coaches, All-Star starters are decided by a three-pronged weighted system made up of fan votes (50 percent), a player vote (25 percent), and votes from the media (25 percent).

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This system is designed to prevent less than worthy fan favorites like Alex Caruso, Tacko Fall, and most notably Zaza Pachulia from earning starting spots noticeably above their production while also rewarding individuals who do right by their fellow teammates and the media.

Is the system perfect? No way, as flashy players on big market teams will always have an advantage over a small market cornerstone, but this year’s final vote totals still shook things up with the surprise All-Star starting debuts of Luka Doncic and Trae Young – each earning their first-ever All-Star berths.

But for Embiid specifically,  his third-straight stint as an All-Star starter has elevated the 25-year-old center into rarefied air among Philadelphia 76ers new and old.

You see, over the course of the 76ers (and Syracuse Nationals) history, the franchise has had 32 players appear in an All-Star game since its inception in 1950-51, including 13 who did so as All-Star starters. By earning his third nod, Embiid joins an impressive collection of 11 players like Allen Iverson, Dr. J, Wilt Chamberlain, and Charles Barkley who have earned at least as many trips while rocking the red, white, and blue (or in AI’s case, black and gold).

Just for context, Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes holds the record for most All-Star game appearances in franchise history with 12 straight, so Embiid still has a way to go.

To get even more granular, Embiid is now one of only seven players in franchise history to start three or more All-Star games and one of only three to do so in three or more straight years.

The record for most consecutive All-Star starts in franchise history belongs to Allen Iverson at eight, another accolade that is totally attainable for the 7-foot-tall Cameroonian with good health.

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Will Joel Embiid go the distance and become not only an All-Star staple but one of the most celebrated players in Philadelphia 76ers history? Only time will tell, but if he can stay relatively healthy for the next decade, I wouldn’t put it past him.