Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid discovered a unique way to try to tip the NBA all-star vote in his favor. The 22-year-old doctored a tweet to make it look like President-elect Donald Trump voted for him on the social media site, likely in hopes that Trump’s fans will fall for the gag and vote for Embiid too.
It’s unclear whether Embiid’s trickery will serve its intended purpose, but it’s certainly getting a lot of attention. At press time, Embiid’s tweet had been retweeted nearly 7,000 times and liked almost 5,000 times.
It also inspired an array of replies, including one playing off the meme inspired earlier this week by Sen. Bernie Sanders, who displayed a giant poster of one of Trump’s actual tweets on the floor of Congress.
Humor aside, Embiid’s method might not end up helping him, even if he does wind up with the most fan votes. After what happened in the NHL last year when hockey fans pulled a fast one on the league and voted defenseman John Scott to join Alex Ovechkin, Jaromir Jagr and Patrick Kane on the All-Star Game Captains’ roster, the NBA changed its rules to ensure the same can’t happen in basketball.
Instead of the fan vote wielding 100 percent of the sway, it now holds just half that. The other 50 percent of the weight for choosing all-star participants will be split between a player and media vote.
Embiid, of course, isn’t Scott, an NHL journeyman. Quite the contrary, actually, Embiid is a bona fide star, having stood out at Kansas before joining the NBA in 2014, when the Sixers picked him in third overall. Embiid missed his first two seasons due to knee problems but has shown quite well thus far in his first NBA season on the court.
As of Thursday, Embiid had secured the fourth-most fan votes among Eastern Conference frontcourt players with 221,984, according to NBA.com. Twelve-time all-star LeBron James was in first with 595,288 votes, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo (500,663 votes) and James’s Cavaliers teammate Kevin Love (250,347 votes).
All-star voting concludes on Jan. 16 at 11:59 p.m. ET, and the game’s starters will be announced live on TNT on Jan. 19.
Donald Trump has yet to comment on Embiid’s creative use of his Twitter handle.