Dear Friends: How about them Philadelphia 76ers!
Somehow, they're playing phenomenal basketball and managing to become overachievingly (a big pseudo-word) relevant -- how so? They've actually been flexed into a nationally televised prime-time game, tonight, against those Houston Rockets and the indomitable James Harden, he of the "not everybody can grow it like that" beard, and that killer game, which may actually be the result of said Sampson-like beard (gotta love the beard!) -- and how sweet it is to be relevant again.
And so, with a one, and a two, and a three cheer Philly Hooray: How about that Joel Embiid!
What a player. What a character. What a shame he didn't make the all-star team so he could finally get that date with Rihanna. (Ah, the beautiful Rihanna. What a talent. What a character. What a shame she doesn't just agree to go out with him on merit alone.) And by merit, folks, I ain't talkin about the fact that he's a highly paid and becoming-more-famous-by-the-game professional basketball player (ugh, what a rich and famous cliche that is); rather, his merits are that he's a good-lookin dude (yes, that sounds shallow; but like it or not, looks matter in life, and anybody that tells you otherwise is full of bleep, good looking or not), with a stellar personality (a note on that: is there anything more charismatically infectious than a player who makes everybody around him better, both as players and as people, who's willing to take the last shot, or make the last block, or grab the last rebound in the clutch, who celebrates his teammates and coaches more than he celebrates himself, and brings the kind of youthful exuberance that simply lifts all those around him, be it players, coaches, and most important, the fans? (To wit: see Wentz, Carson; he's the same deal, if maybe not quite as good looking, given the red hair and beard combo (not a good look; by hey, he's a dude, so who gives a bleep), and the totally dorky countenance (photographic memory, anyone?), although some women are totally into that, given that he's also rich and famous... and, I digress into ugh-ly (and this time shallow) cliches, and this time with a pun!), and I bet Embiid's the kind of guy who picks up the tab everywhere he goes (just a hunch) and does it all with that big ole smile that says: it's good to be Joel Embiid!
And Joel, we love ya for it.
(And with all due credit to Sam Hinkie, architect of The Process, in which we trust, and although Sam's gone from our sports-scene, he'll never be forgotten), and coach Brett Brown, who's brought the San Antonio Spurs' team-first attitude to a sport that needs more of it, and point guard T.J. McConnell -- what a surprise that guy's been; the offense that runs through him put up a whopping 72 points in the first half on Wednesday night, impressive by any standard.)
Cuz oh yeah!, Philly fans will take players like that all, day, long. Why? Because although we value talent, and character, and winning (although it's been a while on that count, but, we're all hoping for the roaring twenties (an acceptable cliche, I guess), where all five of our major sports teams (yes, that includes soccer, you sports neanderthals) are not only good, but great, and bring us many championships), and as much as we value the dream1 as much as the reality, we value winning the right way, with grace, and hard work, and that never-say-die blue-collar ethic that makes the City of Brotherly Love the best sports-city2 in the entire country, and the entire world, bar none.
And, we make a damn good cheesesteak.
1Yes, CPT, that's a reference to the infamous dream-team espoused by the infamous Vince Young, he of the infamous looney-ness (another pseudo-word, but more than apt.)
2By any measure, a great sports-city requires the presence of a great sports bar, and Philly's got one rated amongst the best, and probably is the best (in my highly biased opinion) -- Chickie's and Pete's -- and if you visit, have the crab (it's all about the crab), and also have the crab-fries, and for your gourmands out there, you gotta have the lobster pizza. It's to live for.