Sixers’ Joel Embiid’s leap startles actress Regina King at MSG

For Joel Embiid, it was simply the type of play he’s always going to try to make. For award-winning actress Regina King, it was a moment she won’t soon forget.

King was sitting in the front row at Madison Square Garden when the Philadelphia 76ers 7-foot center came charging her way in pursuit of a loose ball during the third quarter.

Embiid leaped into the stands, clearing King, but crashed feet-first into the MSG Network statistician working next to broadcaster Mike Breen.

“It’s good that I saved her life I guess, but someone else had to, like, take that,” Embiid said, referring to the statistician. “I’m sorry about that.”

King, perhaps best known to sports fans as Rod Tidwell’s wife in “Jerry Maquire,” won a Golden Globe last month for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk and is nominated for an Academy Award for the same role. She tweeted her thanks that she emerged unscathed.

Asked why he didn’t pull up with the Sixers holding a 15-point lead at the time, Embiid said that simply isn’t his nature.

“I only know one way to play and that’s to play hard and compete,” said Embiid, who added he’ll do that 100 percent of the time.

Even if coach Brett Brown wishes Embiid would approach things differently. Asked his thoughts on the play, Brown was matter of fact.

“Just like I think our owners and our fans back home were thinking,” he said. “You respect his aggression, and his passion, but you don’t want that. I say that out of love and care. It’s stuff you hope to avoid.”

The statistician somehow stayed in the game. “I didn’t see him but I know he’s going to feel it tomorrow,” said teammate Ben Simmons.

“I haven’t done that since my rookie season — and it just happened,” Embiid said of his leap.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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