#WudderSports Stream Of Process-ness: JoJo In The Dojo b/w Our First Noel
Joel Hans Embiid has played 15 games in his Sixer career so far.
Joel Hans Embiid aka The Process, aka JoJo, has already shot up the charts with a bullet, to become my favorite Sixer since Allen Iverson, as well as one of my five favorite Sixers of all-time, just behind the Fearsome Foursome of Bubbachuck, Sir Charles, Doctor J and Moses.
May the Basketball Gods protect JoJo’s feet, please give him 8 to 10 healthy years in his prime.
If that happens, we are witnessing the birth of a Hall of Fame game changer, an unprecedented talent overwhelming enough to bring a parade down Broad Street, for the first time since my Uncle John intercepted me on my way to second grade at age seven, then re-routed me to Philly, for the best day off any kid had at a parade until Ferris Bueller got up on a float three years later.
Why my parents allowed me to attend said event in a souvenir red sweatshirt that read “BOSTON” on the front like Red Sox colors, I will never understand…but nobody else in my immediate family really thinks too much about sports stuff.
I still recall being playfully accosted by a big-voiced, generously proportioned woman, who read my shirt, then barked “BOSTON?!? What are you, a Celtic Fan?!?”, as if being so would have impugned my very character, as well as my ever-loving soul.
And in retrospect, she was right to do so.
My uncle, standing 6’4”, only a few years removed from being a division one scholarship power forward in his own right cracked a smile, then draped his long arm across my chest to feign protection as she mock-rushed me, before clarifying with a laugh “No, no, he’s with us”.
Satisfied by his co-sign and clarification, the sturdy-looking sister presumably from the City of Brotherly Love then gave me a smile, laughed herself and said “alright, just making sure” before ambling further down Broad Street.
I was seven years old at the time.
It remains the only championship parade that I ever attended.
Sure, Philadelphia has had ONE more since that blessed day 33 years ago, I just happened to be the best man in my brother-from-my-second-mother’s wedding that same weekend, but did make sure to give the Connecticut Met Fans bride's side the business in the speech.
Ever since 1983 the Philadelphia 76ers, a franchise that finished the 80’s as the third-winning-est organization of all-time in the NBA, behind the Lakers and Celtics, have mostly been a stunning tsunami of mismanagement.
They are responsible for arguably three of the absolute worst “For Who?!? For What?!?” trades in NBA history:
-Moses Malone for Jeff Ruland (who played four career games for the Sixers).
-The #1 overall pick in 1986 (six-time All-Star Brad Daugherty) for Roy Hinson.
-Charles Barkley for Jeff Hornacek (later moved for Jeff Malone), Tim Perry and Andrew Lang.
They drafted Shawn Bradley in the Chris Webber/Penny Hardaway draft.
Passed on Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki, both still playing while each winds down their Hall of Fame championship careers, to draft a 19-year-old kid from the University of Saint Louis named Larry Hughes, who played the same position as then-22-year-old franchise player Allen Iverson.
Wasted eleven years of said franchise player, first-ballot Hall of Famer's career by adding a grand total of ZERO All-Stars (I will Dikembe swat any Mutumbo mentions) to the roster, before shipping him out for ten cents on the dollar, after Ed Snider again publicly declared he was done in Philly, much like he did with NHL Hall of Famer Eric Lindros.
Spent a decade in the post-Iverson era wandering around in a wilderness of indifference, never winning more games than they lose, a situation so thoroughly uninspiring and frustrating as it puttered along so that the few fans left still paying attention, were forced to rally around an unproven, quirky visionary (Sam Hinkie), who was given full license to tear the thing down to its very base-level foundation.
And even sadder, those fans and that man Sam, were actually right.
Sadder still is that despite this fact, Sixer management then let the NBA, along with one of its most political, never-won-anything-ever-royal-NBA-families, peer-pressure and finally con them into running off that man for doing the job he was hired to do.
It’s been said before but must be said again: SAM HINKIE DIED FOR Y(OUR) SINS.
That’s a far more accurate assessment to place on a t-shirt than “CATHOLICS VS. CONVICTS”, while 30 years later, they’ve now made a 30-for-30 about that one.
As a lifelong fan born in the city that bears the team’s name in the year of the Bicentennial, I remain cautiously optimistic there may be a Hinkie 30-for-30 one day.
Or at very least, a Philadelphia 76ers parade, sometime during the able-to-evaluate-my-own-wardrobe age.
If and when that happens, it will likely be because Joel Embiid remained upright, with no minute restriction, while helping to carry them home on that glorious night.
If Joel’s body is able to comply, we have enough assets (#1 Overall Pick Ben Simmons, Super Dario Saric, Whoever We Get in exchanged Jahlil Okafor or possibly Nerlens Noel), cap space and draft picks stashed, to make building around a 7’2” center with Olujawon skill on both ends, plus Steve Nash three-pointer/foul-shooting accuracy, very close to idiot proof.
It took an Idiocracy to get our Sixers into a state of putrid following perpetual Mediocrity.
So, your best bet is to get on board now, while the faithful still feel warmly welcoming and the Basketball Gods allow.
If any computer programmers, who in a former life I might have found a job, are reading this please figure out a way to do this:
Create an app for NBA Fans’ phones, that buzzes you when Joel Embiid checks into the game, like when your table is ready at TGIFriday’s on the Main Line, where our beloved Bubbachuck and Cru Thik spent a never-a-dull-moment decade at the bar on a regular basis.
Give it a market-researched, limited-lettered, millennial catchphrase name: EmBeedMe, GoJoPro, #21Son!....I’ll know it when I hear it but it hasn’t clicked yet.
I’m tired of sitting thru Richaun Holmes miss layups, or watching Jahlil Okafor Olé every big man in the league to the rim, whenever Embiid isn’t in.
Embiid shot badly, not burying a three for the first time in a game he attempted more than one, in his career thus far.
Yet he still was an astounding PLUS TWENTY-SEVEN while on the court, facing off against one of the best young bigs in the game, Anthony Davis.
This is a man who, counting high school and college, has still played less than a hundred games of organized basketball since arriving in America at 17.
Think about how improbable that actually is for a second.
There is no precedent for the sheer ridiculousness of that fact.
Of course, the Sixers still kept it interesting by being outscored by 16 when Embiid was off the floor, so it took an eight-point-in-two-minute Super Dario Saric outburst to win their first road game in almost a full calendar year.
Sixer Fans can only hope that the early Christmas present arriving today, our first Noel game, addresses this sieve-with-Embiid-on-the-bench situation a bit.
What Nerlens Noel lacks in offensive polish, he more than makes up for with athleticism, defensive awareness and active hands. He could and should be another plus-side player on the Philly front line.
If the Colangelo Family can wipe the crust and cobwebs out of their eyes long enough to see that, maybe we can swing some kind of Okafor package deal to land us a CJ McCollum or a John Wall, to go along with the delayed stocking-stuffer of the much-ballyhooed 2016 #1 pick, 6’10” point forward Ben Simmons.
That would lay the groundwork for a young championship-by-2020 nucleus, before even heading into a draft with three high draft picks, or signing a single free agent.
On a cold Sunday over the holidays in Philly, an early evening that finds Nerlens back shortly after the Eagles, undefeated in September, lose again, while giving up another dagger deep ball to Desean (Thanks, Chip!) again, let us pray:
Please Basketball Gods, We Need This, So Kindly Protect JoJo.
Now Please, Ghosts of Steve Jobs, Get Going On That GoJoPro.