The Minnesota Timberwolves (3-1) suffered their first loss of the season last night, a frustrating 117-95 defeat in Phil—
—we interrupt that sentence to get to the part everyone's talking about. Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid are two of the brightest young talents in the league, gifted big men with all-court skills and smarts beyond their years.
Even better: They absolutely cannot stand each other.
As an early-season match-up of guys who haven't seen each other in a while, last night's game functioned as a heat-test on their beef. Verdict: It's flaming hot and ready to be served.
With the 76ers way up midway through the third quarter, Embiid played help defense on Towns, who lost the ball on the play. The action swung to the other side, where Philadelphia scored; back on its own end, Towns' and Embiid's arms were still tangled up in that passive aggressive "no-YOU-let-go-of-ME" thing players sometimes do.
Shit got real when Embiid shoved Towns and put a hand to his face. KAT responded by slinging a long arm around his foe and putting Embiid into a headlock. Philly's Ben Simmons rushed in and forcibly subdued Towns, while Minnesota's Jeff Teague took a shot at pulling Embiid away.
In images that typify their personalities, Towns came away from the fight hyped up and fuming. Embiid was hyped up and... laughing.
Both players were ejected, but the drama continued: As Embiid made his way to the tunnel, he was jeered by a very enthusiastic T-Wolves fan wearing a KAT jersey. The woman was later identified as Towns' mom.
Never one to miss a trolling window, Embiid highlighted KAT's mom's rage in a cocky postgame Instagram post...
...then Towns trolled Embiid right back using his own words, but, crucially, with some goofy capitalization...
...and then Embiid went nuclear, jumping into Towns' Instagram replies (in a post he says Towns had "either deleted or hidden"), where he points out his team won easily and makes some strong claims about Minnesota's young star. For example: "You've been a pussy your whole life. That's why you were treated like a bitch by you know who," a line that certainly sounds like a reference to Jimmy Butler.
"Don't get it twisted, I OWN YOU," Embiid wrote.
OHHHH MY GOD. Embiid became a reply guy on Towns’s IG!!!!! pic.twitter.com/SxcsArbAQk— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) October 31, 2019
The battle for supremacy among Tall Young Men will have to play out in each other's heads and online for the next few months, until the 76ers visit Minneapolis on March 24.
In the meantime, we encourage you to send that clip of Towns' mom ready to throw down against Embiid to your own relatives and ask why they don't have your back like that.