trust the process: why you should love this sixers team

The Sixers are back after the all-star break, and are set to face the Washington Wizards at the Center on Friday night. With the recent Boogie Cousins trade, the Sixers’ future is looking better than ever – there is no better time than the present to get swept up in the excitment surrounding this team. Instead of boring (some of you) with stats and metrics, I’m going to share the personal reasons why you should love this team.

tj-and-jojo-buzzer-beaterSource: USA Today. Photo taken by Alex Subers

Jerryd Bayless

Let’s get someone boring out of the way. Jerryd has played in 3 games, and then had season ending wrist surgery. I don’t think he’s even in the Philadelphia area for his rehab.

Chasson Randle

Chasson is the most recent Sixer to join the team, after being signed to two ten-day contracts, and then a three-year long-term deal. He may have a bit of a Cinderella story career, but his dad was trying to set him up for success with the ladies from birth. On this episode of the BroadCast, Chasson says:

“My dad had a bet with his friends, and the first one to have a boy, was to name him Chasson, and his middle name was supposed to be Dames – like chasin’ girls. So that was kind of a joke that he had between his friends, and my mom wasn’t having it. So I got Chasson, but I didn’t get Dames.”

Sergio Rodriguez

Sergio was the starting point guard before TJ McConnell began his rise to the best point guard in basketball (I mean, Lebron wanted him.) Not only that, but he looks so much like the captain of the Sixers Dunk Squad!

Richaun Holmes
Richaun has great braids all the time, courtesy of his wife. Sometimes, the braids have to come out and get redone, and sometimes you just wear your hair out to practice. And that is when your coach becomes fascinated with your hair.

TJ McConnell

My love for TJ has grown exponentially this season. I mean how can you not love the most clutch player in basketball?

He also has a tendency to sprint like he’s just seen a ghost after every game winner he hits. Around the court, into the tunnel, it doesn’t matter for TJ.

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Nik Stauskas

If you follow Sixers basketball at all, you might be aware of #RaiseTheCat, a bizarre, only in Sixers twitter movement in which fans post pictures of them raising their cats after a Sixers win. Not wanting to be left out of the fun, Nik’s cat Dribbles, who unfortunately resides with his parents in Canada, wanted to get in on the action.

Nerlens Noel

No longer the flat-topped big man we grew to love, Nerlens is now the braces-ed big man that we love. He’s tough (no mouth guard) and knows when to keep his mouth shut and keep that money in his pocket. After getting punched in the face by Serge Ibaka, and somehow getting a technical himself, he had this to say (at the 1:18 mark):

Robert Covington

I’ve always been a huge RoCo fan, even when he was having trouble hitting the broad side of a barn earlier this season. He seems like a great team player, who can get along with anyone. Last but certainly not least, he’s got moves (Nik does not).

Robert Covington Running Mansource

Jahlil Okafor

Okafor has really gotten a raw deal with all of this trade nonsense. He’s not terribly fun, but man are his hands huge.

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You don’t have to love him that much, he’ll hopefully be (having a great career, I only wish him the best) somewhere else soon.

Ersan Ilyasova

I had to get some input from my roommate about why we love Ersan. She likes to consider herself the biggest fan of eastern European Sixers players around. Her favorite thing about Ersan is that¬†he is always in the background of sideline interviews. I haven’t noticed it, but she’s the expert so who am I to question her. I mean she came up with this gem of a hashtag #Ilyasogood.

Dario Saric

Dario’s personality is really starting to shine, but it is his friendship with TJ McConnell that brings it out the most. In the beginning of the season, the two seemed to share some tense words on the court and in the huddle, but ever since this¬†water and profanity incident, the two have been thick as thieves. Heck, after a great game by Dario, he even gets a piggy back ride from TJ through the tunnel.

Dario Saric TJ McConnell Piggy Back Ride

Gerald Henderson

Gerald Henderson is the grizzled vet of this young team, but he still earns a “Great Job Gerald” from my seats everytime he hits a free throw. He may be a vet, but he’s not above letting the younger guys know when other teams are talking sh*t. From USA Today:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) ‚ÄĒ¬†Philadelphia 76ers¬†guard Gerald Henderson sent a text message to his teammates before Monday night’s game reminding them that¬†Nic Batum¬†had guaranteed a¬†Charlotte Hornets¬†victory.

The fired-up 76ers responded by beating the Hornets 105-99 behind 18 points and 11 rebounds from reserve Dario Saric for their third straight win.

“Everybody pays attention that stuff,” said Henderson, who previously played in Charlotte. “It’s not the first guarantee that has ever been issued, but I thought it was something some guys on our team would look at and use it in the game.”

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot

Before being drafted by the Sixers at #24 in the 2016 NBA draft, TLC played for Mega Leks in Serbia. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him so far this year, but nothing as much as this picture.

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Ben Simmons

There is a lot to love about the Sixers’ number one draft pick, and I can’t wait to see what his talents can bring to this squad. Ben can be credited with really helping #RaiseTheCat blow up, but my favorite thing about him is his apparent deep love for Nik ‘Sauce Castillo’ Stauskas. Just check out some of this tweets:

Joel Embiid

Obviously, I’m saving the best for last as Joel Embiid has more personality than any Philadelphia athlete in recent memory. He has ignited this city, and given us the superstar that we needed. I don’t even know if I can put into words how great he is, so I’ll let him do the talking.

Do you have other favorite Sixers moments? I’d LOVE to hear them. You can find me on Twitter @third_and_girl, where I’m constantly retweeting NBA things.

#TrustTheProcess

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PHILA doesn’t quit – a rant

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As many of you know, I’m a die hard Philadelphia sports fan, and a shameless homer. In my mind, the refs always are making the bad call, my teams never foul, and they are always the best in the league. ¬†I know this is not realistic, but I choose to throw my whole support behind my team, I feel like my guys need me. I’m not proud to say (or maybe I am a little) that I probably boo an official and/or the other team at least once a game. But I don’t boo my teams.

I’m also a Philadelphia Sixers season ticket member, a team that’s not known for their skill on the court, at least not yet. Last season, they had a historically bad record, but one that allowed them to get the number 1 pick in the NBA draft, and bring Ben Simmons to Philadelphia. It’s all part of The Process. Honestly, they’re sometimes a little bit hard to watch, with sloppy passing and missed shots but, I try to go to every game and get on my feet and cheer. And I don’t boo them.

The Sixers had a pretty bad showing last night, falling to the Utah Jazz 109-84. ¬†This comes two days after taking the defending World Champion Cleveland Cavaliers down to the last play of the game before ultimately losing by 1. They only made about 40% of their field goals and had 18 turnovers, almost double what the Jazz had. But I didn’t boo them.

The stars that normally electrify the crowd weren’t on their game last night either. Joel “The Process” Embiid only shot 33% from the 3-point line, after going 4/4 against the Cavs. ¬†Every time Embiid threw up a three on Saturday, the crowd knew it was going in. Last night, not so much. To add insult to injury, he went 6/9 from the line, leaving what should have been ‘gimme’ points off the board. But I didn’t boo him.

You love a team because they’re yours, and you shouldn’t put down the things that you love. Yes, sometimes the Sixers don’t protect the ball, and miss easy shots, and don’t play defense. Sooner or later, though, their going to start winning games. Joel Embiid is going to start putting in more and more shots that he learned from watching white people on the internet. ¬†Ben Simmons is going to come back from injury and make no-look passes that get him compared to Magic Johnson. When they do, I’m going to be able to say I was¬†behind them the whole way, not booing them from the top ¬†of The Center.

This rant was brought on by listening to the guy behind me boo the Sixers for almost the entire game last night. I couldn’t help thinking how much energy he was putting into putting down a team he was supposedly a fan of. ¬†The Center was pretty quiet due to the blow out and he would yell “(Insert Player Name), You Suck”. I don’t know if they could hear it, but if I was a player, having fans like that wouldn’t make me want to fight for them. Players and fans have a special relationship, just watch how Sixers great Allen Iverson talks about the Philadelphia fans:

I want to be apart of that group, not the group booing from the nosebleeds.

hall of fame – rio olympics:week 1

Hey there guys! Long time no write – I’ve been glued to my TV watching the Olympics the past week or so, and haven’t really been keeping up on my reality TV. ¬†I haven’t even watched Bachelor in Paradise! I had been putting pressure on myself to watch and recap¬†but I’ve decided to take the pressure off. The Summer Olympics come around once every 4 years, and we’re really lucky that many of the events have been able to be shown live on the East Coast. I haven’t decided if I’m going to go back and recap the finale of JoJo’s season (which I watched not super closely with some girlfriends and wine, a decision that makes it harder to recap but I don’t regret at all) or Bachelor in Paradise, or just take a break until the next season of the Bachelor. This space is still small and evolving, so please bear with me as I figure it out.

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As mentioned above, I LOVE the Summer Olympics. I was a competitive swimmer for 10 years growing up, so I’ve been particularly caught up in¬†swimming. I wanted to share¬†my favorite moments/stories from the first week of the Olympics:

1. Many people are calling Simone Biles (her haul so far – three golds with finals in the balance beam and floor coming up) the breakout star of Rio, but I was more enthralled¬†by Aly Raisman’s story coming into Rio. At 22, Aly is the “grandma” of Team USA, as well as one of two returning members from the 2012 gold medal winning Fierce Five. In 2012, Aly was kept off the podium in the all-around competition due to the Federation of International Gymnastics’ tie-breaking rules (read the explanation here), giving Aliya Mustafina the bronze. Coming into Rio, Aly would have to beat out both Simone Biles, who is regarded by most as the best gymnast to ever live, and Gabby Douglas, 2012 gold medalist in the all-around, as only two gymnasts from one country may compete in the all-around. Gabby had struggled through the US trials, but¬†a champion is never one to be taken lightly. During qualifications, Aly put up a score of 60.607, besting Douglas by less than half a point, and giving her the opportunity to once again vie for the all around medal.

Going into the final rotation of the all-around finals, Aly was sitting in bronze medal position behind Simone Biles and Aliya Mustafina by about one tenth of a point. Mustafina put up a sub 14 score on the floor right before Aly performed, giving her the ability to take the silver by competing on her best apparatus.  Aly NAILS her floor routine, complete with this awe inspiring first pass, and guarantees herself the silver medal.

Full disclosure, I watched this on my second monitor at work, and was definitely tearing up watching her achieve her dream. To finish a routine and just KNOW that you have won, has to be such an overwhelming feeling. I’m so proud of Aly and the entire women’s gymnastics team.

2. Although this team hasn’t been as dominant as expected, Team USA’s Men’s Basketball team has been really fun to follow. With many of the NBA’s biggest stars opting out of Rio (I’m looking at you Steph, Lebron, and Russ), we’re left with an eclectic group of Olympic rookies (plus¬†KD and Old Man Carmelo).

The fun started even before getting to Rio with this rousing rendition of ‘A Thousand Miles’.

The guys have really been enjoying themselves in Rio, going to “spas“, roasting each other for their Snapchat indiscretions, and enjoying all the other athletes the Olympics have to offer. ¬†So far, I’ve seen them cheering on Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky, singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Kerri Walsh-Jennings, and witnessing the greatness that is Usain Bolt. ¬†I think they might love beach volleyball the most though. Just look at Draymond with that flag and Jimmy dancing with his cup.

If you want to keep up with any of their shenanigans, follow them on Snapchat. Draymond Green: @money23green, Harrison Barnes: @hbarnes40, Carmelo Anthony: @carmelokanthony.

3.¬†Last but not least, the GOAT, Michael Phelps, is my favorite story of the entire Olympics. I honestly don’t even know if I can put into words how much I am in awe of his career, and how happy I am to see him finally happy and at peace with the pressure and exposure that comes with just being Michael Phelps.

I’ve followed Michael Phelps’s career since 2000, when I was 10 and still thought that I might be in the Olympics one day. He was a 15 year old phenom, taking 4th in his first Olympic final (Fun Fact: His son Boomer is closer to the age he was in his first Olympic final than the age Michael currently is now), and I wanted to be just like him. Even in 2008, when I knew my Olympic dream would never come to fruition, I still recorded every one of his record-breaking gold medal races in my childhood bedroom. The VHS tapes are still sitting there.¬†I was disappointed when finding out about his DUI arrests, and proud of the work that he’s done to get himself back on the right track. After retiring, unhappy with the sport, four years ago, he was ready to make a comeback, one last time in Rio. And he proved that he’s still the very best.

I don’t know him personally, but the Michael Phelps I’m seeing is one that seems happy. He’s head-over-heels for his fiance Nicole, and his love for his son Boomer can be felt through a TV screen. He has a new life ahead of him, one that is focused on family instead of swimming.

So, thank you Michael. Thank you for inspiring hundreds of thousands of kids to wake up early on Saturday morning and jump in a cold pool. Thank you for making the sport I love cool for more than just one week every four years. Thank you for being the most dominant athlete of all time, and allowing us to witness it. Thank you.

Are you guys enjoying the Olympics? What are you looking forward to in the upcoming week? Let me know in the comments.

xo
Em