After missing a few weeks with a concussion and an orbital fracture, Joel Embiid is finally back on the floor for tonight’s Game 3 against the Heat—with a pretty sick mask, goggles included. Constructing the thing was apparently quite the project...
...but that’s not the most important thing on the table here, because that would be the question of whether the overall look here is more hero or villain. (Any mask, regardless of context, must fit one of the two categories.) This mask is missing the sleek textured look of the one that LeBron wore a few years ago, which gave off what I felt were unquestionably villainous vibes, but the built-in goggles here add a little something that feels a little on the evil side! Sealing your eyes off from the world, denying yourself that small vulnerability, that’s really a villain-ass move. It’s not necessarily a natural one for a guy as goofy as Embiid, but isolate the mask here, and it’s there. VILLAIN.
Don’t worry, though, the regular old Embiid is still in there. Like when he shoots free throws, and the mask comes off.
Update (8:08 p.m. ET): And now it’s broken.