• How the City of Philadelphia Adopted a Kid From Cameroon

    In Philadelphia, sports aren’t an afternoon activity.  Sports are its own religion in this city.  People live and die watching Philly sports.  If you aren’t from this city you wouldn’t understand the passion the fans have. They get a bad rap, sure they threw snowballs at Santa, yeah star players are booed after a bad play.  It is all love though; the fans always show up during the good and bad. All they want is the best from their teams, nothing less. There aren’t many players that will forever be loved in Philly, Ryan Howard won a World Series and an MVP but won’t be remembered because occasionally he would half-ass a play. Allen Iverson is the prime example of a player giving his all to the city and the fans loving him back. Guys like Brian Dawkins and Jimmy Rollins are other examples that represent what the city of Brotherly Love is all about.  Joel Embiid is next in line.

    Three years ago the Sixers made SportsCenter because a fan in the front row fell asleep during the game.  Now when the Sixers make the SportsCenter highlights all you hear are “Trust the Process” chants ringing throughout the arena. You know what else you don’t see?  An empty seat in Wells Fargo Center.  Joel has not only been accepted by the city, he has brought it together more than any one player has before.  The trickle-down effect has been astonishing as well.  Young guys, the Tj McConnell and Robert Covington’s of the world, have embraced the passion of the city.  They go as hard as they can on every play and that is all the fans want, no matter what they are fully capable of.

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    Embiid has been the main piece of the whole process movement by the Sixers.  He has given the fans a lot of doubts the last few years with all of his injuries.  The fans knew he was a reach and a project but it gave them a glimmer of hope.  Since his debut, that hope has come to fruition. He has the Sixers thinking playoffs for the first time since the 2011-2012 season.  It’s a longshot but the fact that one guy has the fans even considering the possibility of it is unbelievable.  He has played 31 games in the NBA, averaging 20.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 2.5 bpg.  All of this while being restricted to 25 minutes again. He has a long way to go but for a rookie, not playing a game in over 2 years, he’s more than a glimmer of hope.

    This was supposed to be the year the Sixers finally were going to break onto the scene. Embiid was finally healthy, Dario Saric makes his awaited arrival onto U.S. soil and the #1 overall pick in the draft, Ben Simmons, was going to run the point for Brett Brown’s squad.  All this was shot down on September 30th when Simmons broke his foot in the last training camp scrimmage. The season was lost on the spot, this was the last straw, the process was dead.  The feeling in Philadelphia was that the Sixers huge rebuild plan failed miserably.  After dozens of trades, tons of 2nd round draft picks, and plenty of losses, the hope was gone.

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    Even the diehard Sixers fans were done, the thought process was, “Embiid will play half the games, do nothing and let’s hope Simmons and Joel can play well together next season.”  Then something amazing happened, Joel Embiid took over the city. He represents the city of Philadelphia the way it should be represented.  Joel leads his teammates by example and they follow his lead. The Sixers exemplify who Philadelphians are and that is why the city has invested in them.  After some really hard years, the Sixers are in the limelight again on the back of one man from Cameroon.  When the Sixers go onto the Wells Fargo Center court there won’t be any empty seats and definitely no one asleep in the front row. You’ll only see and feel the whole city around them, rooting them on because the feeling of hope never left because the city of brotherly love trusts the process more than ever.

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