MEMPHIS — The 76ers had a history lesson Monday morning.
While in the Blues City, Brett Brown didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to take his team to the National Civil Rights Museum before Monday’s shootaround. It was the coach’s seventh time at the museum. But for six of his players, it was a first time at the site that traces the Civil Rights Movement from the 17th century to the present. The museum is actually built around the former Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
“Personally, I always leave there with mixed emotions, with some level of shame and some level of recognition that the world is getting a little bit better,” Brown said. “But we still got a long ways to go.”
Brown added that the museum is a very humbling environment for him.
The museum is “a healthy reminder for all of us the progression to some levels that we all are making to try to right so grossly many wrongs,” he said.
Brown took his team there because he said it’s a real part of American history. He wanted to recognize that as team, especially with his foreign players, Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Ben Simmons (Australia), Dario Saric (Croatia) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (France) on this trip.
“In the locker room before hand, we talked about what that means to Croatia. What example might have happened in Croatia?” Brown said. “Tell me about Cameroon. I’m acutely aware of the plight of the Aborginals in Australia. Ben and I to the group talked freely about it.”
But mostly Brown wanted his team to understand that “legitimate injustices” were done to African Americans. Reminders of those injustices led to Brown walking out of the building feeling “shameful.”
Embiid honored as player of the week
Embiid was named Eastern Conference player of the week on Monday.
The center got the award after averaging 29.7 points, 12 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 blocks as the Sixers swept last week’s three opponents, the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. The NBA All-Star Game starter shot 54.2 percent from the field and 81.5 percent from the foul line.
This marks Embiid’s second conference player-of-the-week honor. He also won the award on Jan. 23, 2017, of last season.
Like then, the 23-year-old’s dominance was on display last week.
He opened the week on Jan. 15 by producing 34 points and 11 rebounds in a 117-111 victory over the Raptors. Then Embiid had 26 points, a career-high-tying 16 rebounds, six assists and two blocks in Thursday’s 89-80 win over the Celtics. And he capped the week Saturday with 29 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in a 116-94 rout of the Bucks.
Embiid took season averages of 24.0 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and a league-fifth-best 1.94 blocks into Monday’s matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum.