NBA star Joel Embiid goes viral for dancing the hora at Jewish friend’s wedding

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Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors during a game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, April 18, 2022.
Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors during a game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, April 18, 2022. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images via JTA)

NBA star Joel Embiid is an enormous man — around 7 feet tall and 280 pounds, to give an idea. But that didn’t stop him from joining in a hora dance and getting lifted in a chair at a Jewish friend’s recent wedding.

Embiid went viral as videos of the Philadelphia 76ers center joining in the Jewish nuptial fun — with a huge smile, to boot — circulated around social media.


The wedding took place in Napa, Calif., for Michael Ratner — a filmmaker who made a documentary about Embiid’s life, from his native Cameroon to the University of Kansas — and Lauren Rothberg, the head of brand for Rhode, Hailey Bieber’s new skincare line.

Both Ratner and Rothberg shared videos of Embiid in the action on their Instagram accounts, the New York Post reported. In one, he is seen joining in the hora circle; in others, he is shown holding a woman on a chair at the center of the circle. (Both parts of the folk dance are common tradition at Jewish weddings.)

Embiid, a five-time All-Star by the age of 28 known for his sense of humor, is also close with Sixers owner, Josh Harris, who is Jewish.

— Gabe Friedman

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