Darryl Dawkins, “Chocolate Thunder,” Has Died

Darryl Dawkins, who was a 76er during the team’s glory days and became famous as “Chocolate Thunder” for his backboard-shattering dunks, has died. He was 58.

“A Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest spokesperson confirmed to the Daily News that Dawkins died there Thursday. No cause of death was given,” the New York Daily News reports. “Nicknamed ‘Chocolate Thunder’ by Stevie Wonder, Dawkins was selected fifth overall by the 76ers in the 1975 NBA Draft and became legendary for his ferocious dunks – once shattering two backboards in a three week span in 1979.” Read more »

6 Stars Who Couldn’t (or Wouldn’t) Play in Philly

USATSI_joel-embiid-940x540

While the Sixers and their team of All Star surgeons are optimistic that Joel Embiid will make a full recovery from his latest foot surgery, the fact remains that the talented center’s future with the team is murkier than ever. As he prepares to sit out his second straight season, he inches closer to joining a strange Philadelphia fraternity: high-profile athletes who, for one reason or another, crushed Philly fans’ high expectations after their — in some cases high-profile — acquisitions. Some of these athletes were felled by injury, others simply refused to play in the City of Brother Love, and one — we’re looking at you, Andrew Bynum, was hurt and seemed to have no interest in playing here. Here are six athletes who could not — or would not — play in Philly. Read more »

Surgeon on Sixer Joel Embiid’s Foot: “Bone’s Integrity Better Than Expected”

Joel Embiid looks on from the sidelines during the January 7, 2015 game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center.

Joel Embiid looks on from the sidelines during the January 7, 2015 game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center.

On July 11th the Sixers announced that Joel Embiid would require a second surgery to repair the navicular bone in his right foot, an injury that was first discovered mere days before the 2014 draft, and one which caused Embiid to miss his entire rookie season.

The surgery, which included replacing the two existing screws in Embiid’s foot along with a bone grafting procedure intended to help strengthen the area and promote healing, was performed Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

“Visual inspection suggested good vascularity of the bone,” said Dr. Martin J. O’Malley, the surgeon who headed up the operation. “We were able to identify that bone’s integrity was even better than expected and has been put in a great position to support full recovery.” Read more »

Joel Embiid to Have Season-Ending Surgery Tuesday

Photo | USA Today Sports Images

Joel Embiid was a (damaged) star prospect when he was drafted third overall by the Sixers in 2014. Now, he’ll have to wait at least another year before playing in an NBA game.

Yahoo! Sports reported Saturday that Embiid will have his second foot surgery in as many years this Tuesday and is expected to miss the upcoming NBA season, which the Sixers announced back in July. Read more »

In Philadelphia Sports, It’s 1972 All Over Again

Illustration by Gluekit

Illustration by Gluekit

Housing values are soaring in Point Breeze, Grays Ferry and Kensington, of all places. The restaurant boom continues along East Passyunk Avenue. Millennials are piling into the city like someone is giving away participation trophies. All this energy and optimism is new and deeply confusing for people who view Philadelphia through an older, more cynical lens.

It’s no doubt a comfort to this veteran crowd, then, that the city’s major sports franchises are still reliably floundering. Sure, the Eagles have won 10 games in each of the past two seasons, but the team did miss the playoffs last year for the third time in four seasons. Similarly, the Flyers have whiffed on the post-season twice in the past three years, and the Phillies are suffering from a crippling hangover after their binge of success from 2007 to 2011. And at least those three teams are trying to win. The Sixers attempted to lose ’em all on purpose over the past two seasons — and were out-tanked twice.

It’s the grimmest time to be a Philadelphia sports fan since 1972. Read more »

Awesome Sixers Color Commentator Leaves for Hawks

Malik Rose, who had been the color commentator for Sixers broadcasts on Comcast SportsNet the last four seasons, has left the gig for a front office job with the Atlanta Hawks.

By inboundpass [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Malik Rose, by inboundpass [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Rose, a Philadelphia native who played for Overbrook High School and Drexel, played 12 seasons in the NBA. He was on the last Drexel team to qualify for the NCAA tournament and won two NBA Championships with the San Antonio Spurs. With the Hawks, he’ll work with coach/president Mike Budenholzer, who was an assistant in San Antonio when Rose was with the team.

Over the last four years, Rose has developed into one of the finest color commentators for any of the local teams. He’s been great for broadcasts as the team attempts its expansive tank-and-rebuild strategy: He gets excited about young players, and he is as exasperated as any Sixers fan when things go wrong. Read more »

BizFeed: Philly Sports Teams Take Nosedive in TV Ratings

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Ben Revere is unable to catch a fly ball triple by Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick in the first inning of a July 6th game at Dodger Stadium.

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Ben Revere is unable to catch a fly ball triple by Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick in the first inning of a July 6th game at Dodger Stadium.

1. Phillies, Sixers and Flyers See TV Audience Shrink

The News: There’s not a whole lot of interest in Philadelphia sports these days. The Phillies are literally the worst team in professional baseball. The 76ers are coming off a horrific season, as part of its peculiar and (potentially genius) tanking plan. And the Flyers had an off year and missed the playoffs. That’s led to horrifying TV ratings for the three sports teams. For many fans, the Eagles’ Monday night opener against the Atlanta Falcons can’t come soon enough.

The Philadelphia Inquirer examined the Nielsen ratings, reporting that “Phillies viewership has plummeted 65 percent from 2011,” the last season of a glorious run of five straight playoff appearances. In news that should surprise nobody, “Sixers viewership has nosedived 72 percent over the same period.” The Flyers also lost audience, as viewership was down 36 percent. Read more »

Joel Embiid’s Latest Setback Is Not the End of the World

76ers general manager Sam Hinkie (right) talks with center Joel Embiid during pre-game warm-ups at the Wells Fargo Center on December 15th, 2014.

76ers general manager Sam Hinkie (right) talks with center Joel Embiid during pre-game warm-ups at the Wells Fargo Center on December 15th, 2014.

Late Saturday night Sam Hinkie and the Philadelphia 76ers made official what many had been fearing for the last month: that Joel Embiid would require a second surgery to repair the Navicular bone fracture he suffered last June and would miss the 2015-16 NBA season.

“We have been consistent in our philosophy that our focus will be Joel’s long-term health and wellness to ensure he will have a long and impactful career in the NBA. After receiving the input of the aforementioned medical experts, as well as conversations with Joel and his representatives, there was careful consideration given to a number of options related to this particular situation. A collective decision has been made that the best approach to promote full healing would be to proceed with a bone graft of the fracture site. We anticipate the procedure will take place in the next 7-10 days and result in Joel missing the upcoming season. ”

Sixers president and general manager Sam Hinkie.

Read more »

Sixers Land 3 Players, Draft Pick in Trade With Kings

The Philadelphia 76ers acquired three players, as well as a future first-round pick and other draft considerations, in a trade with the Sacramento Kings last night. The trade can not be made official until July 9th. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the deal.

The Sixers sent a second-round pick and two European players drafted late in the second round of last month’s draft to the Kings, Arturas Gudaitis (47th pick) and Luka Mitrovic (60th pick). In return, the 76ers got a first-round pick in 2018, Nik Stauskas (the 8th overall pick in 2014) and veteran big men Cary Landry and Jason Thompson. The Sixers also got the right to swap first-rounders with the Kings in 2016 and 2017.

This is quite a haul for the Sixers for two players who were just picked late in the second round last month. The Sixers were rumored to have liked Stauskas back in the 2014 draft, but he was taken before the Sixers made their second first-round pick. (They previously took Joel Embiid third overall that year.) The Kings were willing to part with Stauskas (and draft considerations) in order to cut the salaries of Landry ($6.5 million) and Thompson ($6.4 million).

Stauskas was a high pick last year, but struggled to get on the court on a bad Kings team (just 15 minutes a game) and scored only 4.4 points a game — low numbers, especially for a guy expected to be a shooter. Still, he might instantly be the best shooter the Sixers have. (The previous best shooter was, um, Robert Covington.) Read more »

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