An NBA Lottery Mega-Party with a Weirdest Fans in a League

Image around Bleacher Report

It is 4 hours before a NBA breeze lottery, and a parking lot behind Xfinity Live!—a large dining and celebration space in a heart of South Philadelphia’s Sports Complex—is already home to dozens of tailgaters. There are mini-grills. There is drink pong. Footballs are tossed.


While sports fans in other cities demeanour adult to realize, “Oh, a breeze lottery is tonight?” 3,000-plus Philadelphia 76ers fans are dressed in black, celebration Shirley Temples, profitable $5 for photos with a Vlade Divac cardboard figure or with a podcaster’s dog, and raising a banner to respect a former ubiquitous manager who saw a organisation go 47-195 during his tenure. Oh, and removing engaged. A integrate also got engaged.

Image around Bleacher Report.

These people are supporters of The Process. And they are a weirdest fans in a NBA.

Bound by a unrepentant devotion for polarizing former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie and his Process of patiently (and perhaps courageously?) rebuilding a organisation by bottoming out for high breeze picks, leveraging tip space to save trade resources and constantly sifting a bottom of a register in hunt of gold—as good as a adore for Process-friendly Sixers podcast The Rights To Ricky Sanchez—the organisation continues to stretch itself from anything imitative normal basketball fandom.

“This organisation of people is so singular in that they follow something that nobody should be following,” says Max Rappaport, a basketball writer, podcaster and one of a many tangible names in Process Twitter. “It’s kinda touching in a approach that we don’t know how to describe. When we caring about something that other people can’t describe to, or when we pierce it up, people are, like, ‘Why do we watch a Sixers? Why do we watch 80 games of a organisation that wins 22 of them?’ To be around 3,000 people who also watch 80 games of this bulls–t team—it’s awesome. It means a lot.”

But Trusting a Process is some-more than slogging by 80-plus games of T.J. McConnell as your primary playmaker. It also involves a lot of inside jokes and deep-web NBA knowledge. It’s wearing Divac’s Sacramento Kings jersey and carrying his trade label for good luck. It’s adding #LickFace to your Twitter profile. It’s bargain a many granular sum of a Lakers‘ first-round-pick insurance rights. It’s celebration Shirley Temples (by the pitcher, if possible). It’s regularly simulating the breeze lottery on Tankathon for months. It’s buying obscure T-shirts and holding up house cats and being unfairly critical of a Colangelos and even removing intent in a Ben Simmons jersey, apparently.

Image around Bleacher Report.

Sure, people during other sporting events get intent all a time—but not like this. Not by submitting a backstory to a podcast, arrangement adult uncertain possibly you’re removing intent and praying we win a $7,500 ring from LL Pavorsky, a podcast’s valuables sponsor. Not by carrying thousands of inebriated people intone “She conspicuous yes!” as a difference “She conspicuous yes” with a clip-art basketball figure is flashed on each screen. Not while another couple, maybe a bit presumptuous, came prepared wearing a fit and full marriage dress usually to clearly leave unengaged.

Process weirdness was on full arrangement in all a majestic, dorky glory.

Look during these guys:

Image around Bleacher Report

Or a organisation who brought a dwindle of Embiid’s home nation of Cameroon:

Image around Bleacher Report

Or this shawl from a Sixers’ 2014 Orlando Summer League championship (very rare!).

Image around Bleacher Report.

Depending on who we ask, a loyalty and crafty one-upsmanship of a Process throng is possibly a certain or pathetic, and nobody represents a warring sides of that evidence improved than Spike and Howard Eskin.

Spike, one half of The Rights To Ricky Sanchez podcast along with TV author Michael Levin, has been throwing this breeze lottery celebration a final 4 years and was constituent in creation “Trust a Process” a catchphrase. His dad, mythological Philadelphia sports radio heel Howard Eskin, has prolonged called Hinkie a rascal and has publicly debated his son on this subject during each turn.

“My son’s out of control, that’s No. 1,” Howard tells Bleacher Report, holding a box of Kool-Aid packets he would after mockingly toss during Hinkie fans. “It’s a good celebration for a wrong reason. This is a many applicable day for a Sixers for a final 4 years, and that’s since it’s a lottery! That’s not a good reason to celebrate—because you’re in a lottery!”

Howard Eskin shows off a Kool-Aid he brought for Process supporters.Image around Bleacher Report.

His son, who also used a eventuality to lift income for a Alzheimer’s Association of a Delaware Valley and a National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, apparently disagrees.

“This’ll sound trite or whatever,” Spike begins, “but I’m happy and respected that everybody found [this group]. It’s tough to find other fans to hearten for a organisation when a organisation is losing. People don’t get together and go to a bar when a organisation loses 75 percent of a games, so we have to find other ways to bond and get by it. And that’s what all these people did.”

The vibe isn’t of grave camaraderie, though of celebrating a conditions few sports fans can appreciate.

Spike Eskin, mother Valerie and dog Rebel.Image around Bleacher Report.

“There’s no tough guys here,” Spike says. “There’s no attitudes. Everyone usually has a good time. And it’s uncanny and it’s nonsensical and a people who don’t get it make fun of it, though it’s overwhelming and I’m unapproachable to be a partial of it.”

Within a group, a usually figure who even comes tighten to relating Hinkie’s Christ-like standing is his many famous draftee, Embiid, a No. 3 collect in 2014. Embiid seems each bit as unapproachable to be a Process believer as Spike, generally when we remember that a 7’2″ Cameroonian nicknamed himself “The Process” final season.

Using that word was something a front bureau looked to equivocate following Hinkie’s resignation, so Embiid’s pierce to sire a organisation to side with Hinkie usually strengthened a bond to this singular organisation of fans. So it should come as no warn that one of a loudest cheers of a night was simply a initial time Embiid was shown on screen.

In this room, a game-winning buzzer-beater and Embiid’s face hoard a same reaction.

Still, his initial coming wasn’t a night’s loudest impulse for a firmly packed, cultish Philly faithful. The loudest roar, inarguably, arrived when it became transparent a collect barter with a Kings was going to net a Sixers a top-three collect in this year’s draft.

Shirley Temples.Image around Bleacher Report.

The right to sell picks with Sacramento was partial of what is likely Hinkie’s many famous trade, in that he sent Sacramento’s GM Divac small some-more than a bag of air and some tip service in sell for Nik Stauskas, a Kings’ defenceless 2019 first-round collect and a right to barter picks with a Kings in 2016 and 2017. As one of a final remaining pieces of Hinkie’s legacy, a collect barter roughly eclipsed a significance of a preference itself, representing Hinkie’s ability as a trade negotiator, while also portion as a discerning back-pocket arms opposite Hinkie doubters.

So when a Knicks landed a No. 8 pick—with a hive-minded throng entirely wakeful that a barter was in play and a Sixers were guaranteed a top-three selection—the building exploded.

“F–kin’ collect swap. Can we usually contend f–kin’ collect swap?” asks Rappaport. “No. 3 around a collect barter is fundamentally a homogeneous of a No. 1 pick.” [Laughs.]

“We got a collect swap, that Sam did,” says Spike Eskin. “So we consider it’s a win all around.”

Adds Ike Reese, a former NFL Pro Bowler and stream sports radio host: “This is an overwhelming night for us. This is apparently where we can see Sam Hinkie’s prophesy come to light.”

Even Stauskas, who was traded in that understanding roughly a year after a Kings drafted him, poked fun during a swap:

Predictably, some are still self-denial praise. “Don’t give credit to Sam Hinkie,” huffs a elder Eskin. “Any moron, any blockhead can emanate a Ponzi intrigue and lose.”

Some teams have playoff drama. Others have storylines bending to a breeze lottery.

So what’s subsequent for this bizarre splinter of Sixers fans? With Hinkie left to a rafters and his Process conspicuous passed and mourned by thousands dressed in black, what do those who “Trust a Process” design next?

Image around Bleacher Report.

“It turns to progress,” says Rappaport. “Process turns to progress. The Process was always a car to get to something else.”

Spike Eskin is somewhat some-more specific.

“I usually don’t wish Lonzo Ball. No Lonzo Ball and we’re good.”


Do you have an unusual story to tell? E-mail stories@tutuz.com