He tells me that the food comes from his chef, who stops by four or five times a week to drop off meals. It’s the superstar athlete’s attempt at a more carefully crafted diet,
a corrective to the eating habits that became the object of scrutiny and Internet laughter a few years ago, when it was reported that Embiid consumed pitchers of Shirley Temples. Embiid used to drink one (a single Shirley Temple, not a pitcher’s worth) almost every day but has since cut back to merely “once in a while,” he tells me while grabbing a bottled water from the fridge, as if to prove his point. (Bill Self, Embiid’s coach at Kansas, tells me that Embiid was the “least mature eater” he’s ever seen: “This dude would come to the house and go right to the plate of brownies and take the plate home, and that would be all that he would eat.”) Of course, the diet is only one piece in a much larger puzzle, one that has proved to be the hinge on which Embiid’s career swings from dormant to dominant: his body.