Hard Fouls and Airballs: Inside My Doomed Tryout for the Delaware 87ers

A taste of the pro athlete life.

I don’t know about you, but asinine debates are par for the course among my group of friends – especially when we’re watching sports. One of my favorite (typically booze-fueled) topics of discussion is the highly illogical thought that one of us could perform some sort of minor feat at the professional level. Do you think you can put up a single shot in an NBA game? How about hitting the ball past the infield at Citizens Bank Park?

For example, my friend Teddy adamantly believes that he could gain five yards on one carry in an NFL game, if given the hypothetical opportunity. Absolutely preposterous, but the fact that my buddy played running back at one time makes his incredibly bold statement at least plausible enough to dream – no matter how far from reality. With that spirit in mind, I decided to pick up a basketball for the first time in quite a few years to see if I could hack it with the pros a la Tin Cup.
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Sixers to Play on Christmas Day AND in London

Photo illustration by Joe Trinacria.

Big day for Philly basketball fans with reports that the 76ers will make their long-awaited return to Christmas Day action, as well as the official announcement that the team was chosen to participate in the NBA London Game at O2 Arena just after the new year. Read more »

Here’s Nike’s Update of the Sixers Uniform

Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia 76ers.

My only criticism of the Sixers’ 2015-2016 “PHILA” uniform change was the same as it was when they ditched the black and moved back to their true blue and red color scheme in 2009: Why is there no outline on the “Sixers” wordmark or numbers?

Don’t get me wrong, I still thought those updates were both rad (the ‘15-‘16 switch more so) despite my nitpicking complaint. But, admittedly I’m very much a stickler for this sort of thing. Read more »

WATCH: Behind the Scenes of J.J. Redick’s Free Agent Whirlwind

New 76ers guard J.J. Redick is an interesting cat. Two-time All-America selection at Duke, where he was vilified by both opposing fans and players alike en route to winning the Wooden Award (player of the year) in all of the haters’ faces as a senior in 2006. Since then, Redick’s NBA journey has been a steady climb to this current apex: accepting a one-year, $23 million contract with our Sixers in free agency.

J.J. is pretty accessible for a pro basketball player, from sharing tales from the road on his podcast to this latest look into the 33-year-old’s personal life, which was brought to us by… LeBron James? Well, his digital media company, Uninterrupted, anyway. Check out their awesome 15-minute mini-doc on J.J.’s experience as a free agent here: Read more »

Dario Saric Is Even Creepier Than Joel Embiid in Balloon Animal Form

Photo illustration by Joe Trinacria.

So the weirdest thing to happen in Philly so far this week was the discovery that some nut was looking to trade a “life sized” Joel Embiid balloon animal for power tools on Craigslist. A totally reasonable and normal request, right? Nothing to see here, officer…

But being the curious guy that I am, I decided to take a deep dive into the whimsical world of online bartering and got in touch with this black market seller to see if he received any offers for balloon JoJo. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Read more »

Iverson Doesn’t Play in Philly Basketball Homecoming

Allen Iverson did Philly dirty last night – stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

With all of the hype surrounding the Answer’s latest basketball homecoming – he was scheduled to play in the Philly leg of rapper Ice Cube’s traveling three-on-three basketball league – maybe us fans should’ve been more prepared for a potential letdown.

The famously unreliable Iverson frequently skipped practice and various other appearances during his decade-plus as a Sixer. He even was a no-show for the team’s fan appreciation night in 2006! (Although we’ll put the majority of the blame for that dastardly move on A.I.’s ditching partner, the checked-out Chris Webber).

But with Iverson now not only enshrined as a Hall of Famer, but also over 40 years old, we thought our diminutive hero’s flakiness was behind him. Unfortunately for Philly basketball fans, apparently that’s not the case.

Allen ended up sitting out of Sunday’s highly anticipated BIG3 event, offering some half-ass explanation in a video he posted to Instagram roughly a half-hour before tipoff:

The news completely took the air out of the Wells Fargo Center, which was packed with nearly 12,500 spectators there to see one thing and one thing alone: Allen Iverson play basketball. Sure, it was cool that Doctor J was also in the house coaching, but the main draw was supposed to be the Answer throwing it back to the days of the 2001 Eastern Conference champions in front of his home crowd. His face was on the court for Christ’s sake!

https://twitter.com/WellsFargoCtr/status/886662016215240704

“Ain’t nothing like the relationship we have,” Iverson told the incredibly patient crowd (bless their hearts). And he’s right. A.I. can do no wrong in Philadelphia despite the countless times he’s sandbagged fans. He gave his all for this city – the most important factor in determining whether an athlete is ascribed as a “Philly guy” – but how far does that go before the love runs out?

Follow @jtrinacria on Twitter.

The Sixers Are Poised to Become NBA Villains

Photo illustration by Joe Trinacria.

I’m ashamed to admit that I ever doubted the GOAT Joel Hans Embiid – a.k.a. New Barkley – but I totally did for a minute there. With great reluctance I confess to you that I was worried the Sixers’ wonderfully outrageous star center would dial it back following his recent fine for expressing what everybody had been thinking about LaVar Ball. I should’ve known better.

Embiid has so far shown that he’s not going to be your run-of-the mill, tight-lipped NBA superstar. Instead, what we have on our hands here is a transcendent talent with an already legendary gift of gab at just 23 years old. A modern day Ali – or perhaps Sir Charles is in fact the more apt comparison, given their penchant for peppering profanity among jokes.

But this we knew already. Embiid’s wildly unique personality has been on display since the moment he arrived as the 76ers’ seven-foot savior in 2014. From spitting game at Rihanna to crushing pitchers of Shirley Temples, Embiid has solidified himself as a rare bird in the short time that we’ve known him. His individuality won’t allow him to buckle to pressure. You say jump, he says how high.

It’s great that Embiid operates this way, but it also means that he very possibly could transition to a rebellious NBA heel. His feud with Ball is a start in that direction – although I think most basketball fans are rooting for the Cameroon native in this particular beef. Ball possesses that Terrell Owens-esque “love to hate” quality, but Embiid and the Sixers are poised to become straight up hated in the standard sense.

Can you imagine what fans outside of Philadelphia are going to think when Embiid gets announced, does some sort of disrespectful WWF move (his fandom is well documented) and then goes out and swats LeBron? As soon as the Sixers start winning and clowning opponents, the seedlings of hate for our team will grow. Players around the league are already trying to knock us down a peg:

Armed with the equally outspoken Ben Simmons and the rabid fan base that populates the Wells Fargo Center, Embiid and the Sixers are going to talk a lot. If we back it up, the Sixers will be painted as the brash villains – a reputation to which Philadelphia is all too familiar.

We loved our Broad Street Bullies and crass ’93 Phils back in the day. If the Sixers are the next Philly team to don the black hat, get ready for a wild ride the likes of which the NBA hasn’t seen since Detroit’s Bad Boy Pistons of the late ’80s.

Follow @jtrinacria on Twitter.

Sixers Fans Want to Pay Joel Embiid’s $10,000 Fine

Photo by NBAE.

While Joel Embiid isn’t exactly looking under the couch cushions for loose change to pay his recent $10,000 fine, Sixers fans still want to help our guy out all the same.

A GoFundMe page was established with the goal of “paying” the 76ers center’s fine after he was disciplined by the league for an Instagram Live video he posted on July 4th that included an expletive directed at the brash father of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball. Read more »

Traces of Sam Hinkie Are All Over the Sixers’ Camden Training Facility

Photo illustration by Joe Trinacria.

A South Jersey electrician pulled off an Illuminati-level scheme in which he hid nods to former 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie in light fixtures and other nooks and crannies of the team’s new Camden training facility, The Ringer’s John Gonzalez reports.

The unidentified laborer – fittingly known only as “Son of Sam” – used a Sharpie to write messages like “Trust the Process” and “Hinkie Died for This” on the inside of outlet covers, circuit boxes and light switches that now adorn the spacious new complex on the waterfront. Read more »

Stop What You’re Doing and Play This Sam Hinkie-Inspired 8-Bit Video Game

The folks over at sports columnist Bill Simmons’ site, The Ringer, gave Sixers fans the greatest gift ahead of tonight’s NBA Draft: this amazing 8-bit video game featuring former general manager Sam Hinkie as its hero. Trust me when I say you’ll want to stop what you’re doing and play this thing right now.

With a click of the mouse you’ll be transported back to childhood by this game’s scaled back graphics, goofy sound effects and terrifically-techno soundtrack. (Missed opportunity not having “1, 2, 3, 4, 5 6ers” as the song, though). Read more »

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