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Leap by Sixers' Joel Embiid startles actress Regina King at MSG

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Embiid goes airborne into the MSG crowd (0:48)

Joel Embiid attempts to save a ball from going out of bounds and leaps into the crowd, hurdling Regina King as Tracy Morgan looks on. (0:48)

For Joel Embiid, it was simply the type of play he is 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 7-foot Philadelphia 76ers center came charging her way in pursuit of a loose ball during the third quarter of the Sixers' 126-111 win over the New York Knicks.

Embiid leaped into the stands, clearing King, but crashed feetfirst 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 the movie "Jerry Maguire," won a Golden Globe last month for her role in "If Beale Street Could Talk," and she is nominated for an Academy Award for the same role. She expressed her gratefulness for emerging unscathed in a tweet.

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 that he will do the same thing 100 percent of the time -- even if 76ers coach Brett Brown wishes he would approach things differently.

Asked for his thoughts on the play, Brown was succinct.

"Just like I think our owners and our fans back home were thinking," the coach 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 76ers teammate Ben Simmons.

Embiid said of his impromptu leap, "I haven't done that since my rookie season -- and it just happened."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.