Joel Embiid’s WWE-inspired celebration during Wednesday’s 137–133 win over the Nets has come back to bite the 76ers star after the NBA decided to penalize him for his actions.
On Friday, the league announced Embiid has received a $25,000 fine for “making an obscene gesture on the playing court” in the third quarter of Philadelphia’s victory over Brooklyn at Wells Fargo Center. However, the news of the fine may come as a surprise to Embiid and Sixers fans after he didn’t receive a technical foul for what became one of the standout viral moments from Wednesday’s slate of NBA action.
Inspired by the signature taunt of the legendary WWE faction, Degeneration-X, the “obscene gesture” in question came after Embiid made a layup and drew the foul to put the 76ers up 92–77. Shortly after converting the and-1, Embiid paid homage to DX by turning to the crowd to deliver three crotch chops, much to the delight of the Philadelphia faithful.
Embiid’s big basket, and the made free throw that followed, increased Philly’s lead over its Atlantic division rival in a heated matchup headlined by the center’s first-time showdown against former teammate, Nets star Ben Simmons. Embiid would end up finishing the contest with 26 points, 10 rebounds and three assists on 6-of-18 shooting while Simmons logged 12 points, five rebounds and five assists after shooting 5-for-7 from the field.
While Embiid, known in the past to break out the celebration, clearly had a little too much fun in the win, the NBA wasn’t alone. Nets star Kevin Durant, sidelined since Jan. 8 with a right MCL sprain, took to Twitter to call Embiid’s taunt “trash” during the game, prompting a hilarious comeback from the big man after the game.
Judging by their past run-ins, Embiid and Durant will likely have even more to say, and perhaps a few other unique celebrations in store, if they share the floor when the teams meet again on Feb. 11.