Los Angeles Times

Bryant inspired players worldwide, one sleepless night at a time

LOS ANGELES — Before he reached NBA stardom, Joel Embiid lay awake in Cameroon, a teenager waiting for his household to fall asleep. He wanted to watch basketball, the game he'd only recently discovered. Highlights on YouTube weren't a reliable option; his parents limited the time he spent on electronics, pushing him to study and help around the home. The time difference also meant that even ...

LOS ANGELES — Before he reached NBA stardom, Joel Embiid lay awake in Cameroon, a teenager waiting for his household to fall asleep.

He wanted to watch basketball, the game he'd only recently discovered. Highlights on YouTube weren't a reliable option; his parents limited the time he spent on electronics, pushing him to study and help around the home. The time difference also meant that even the NBA's earliest tipoffs in the U.S. began after midnight in Yaoundé, Cameroon's capital. That didn't work with his strict 9 p.m. bedtime.

It was why Embiid occasionally, quietly, shuffled out of his sheets late at night.

"I would still sneak out and go to the living room and turn on the TV, and the volume all the way down, just to get to watch it," the Philadelphia 76ers center said last week.

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