This April marks the 24th anniversary of the 1989-90 Atlantic Division Champion Thump 'n Bump Philadelphia 76ers. Now obviously, a 25th anniversary celebration would make more sense, but after googling "Da Golden Child Kurt Nimphius" and finding the team photo above, I couldn't wait another year to write this article.
Forget about Grantland's oral histories or talking to actual human beings, a deep look into this photo will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about this squad. They say a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, this one is worth 919.
Let's start with the obvious.
Like a great 19th century impressionist painting, the eye is immediately drawn to these three towers of power, Bob Thornton, Kurt Nimphius and Mike Gminski. Nice of the G-Man to show up considering he just finished filming an episode of Guiding Light. That beard is SHORN, and check out the curly-q's creeping along the back of his neck. No wonder he averaged 13 and 9. Opposite the G-Man, you can't help but notice Bob Thornton's lack of shoulder hair. Shocking, really. Nimphius is just on a whole 'nother level though. THAT SMILE. Talk about just being happy to be there. Honestly, how did these dudes not have a sitcom together? And are you telling me that Kurt Nimphius didn't moonlight as a Main Line orthodontist?
Speaking of perfectly straight teeth ...
RONNIE RON RON ANDERSON.
Look at those pearly whites. And the 'stache. Andddddddd the 'stache! Unstoppable. Ron Anderson missed out on the 6th Man of the Year award that year, losing out to Ricky Pierce, but Ricky never had a mustache/smile combo like that. Also, those are some really smooth and defined cheek bones. I can't believe how in love I am with Ron Anderson. Nice little earsies, too.
I have a buddy whose father used to own the pharmacy at the corner of 54th and City Line, right across from where the Sixers used to practice at St. Joe's, and he claims that Ron Anderson used to come in before road trips to pick up CASES of condoms. Not cartons, but CASES. I am not making that up and I am also not surprised because Ronald is a STALLION.
Scott Brooks and Derek Smith seem to be having the time of their lives, a clear sign of how well this team got along. You would think that maybe they were laughing at something the Chuckster said, but Charles looks pretty focused here, so I'm gonna rule that one out. They could be having a laugh at the expense of Kenny Payne, but that'd be too easy. But if you look closer, it's actually pretty obvious as to why they're cracking up.
Buzz Braman totally farted.
He totally farted!
Look at that face, he can't deny it. Plus, if you zoom out a bit, you can see that Sixers' trainer, Tony Harris, is giggling like an idiot. Could probably feel the warm breeze on his leg.
Have you EVER seen hair like Buzz Braman's?
Nimphius Schmimphius, this guy is an Adonis. Nothing about his haircut makes sense. There's little sprouts popping out all over the place, and yep -- yep yep yep -- that's a Reverse Renegade mustache. I knew it. I knew it from the second I looked at it. HE'S A REAL PERSON, FOLKS. Buzz Braman is a real, live, breathing person who walked out of his house every day and tackled the world looking like this. God this is an unbelievable country we live in.
At the other end of Coaches Row is equipment manager, Alan Lumpkin, aka the Double Breasted Assassin. You don't see suits like that every day, people, you simply do NOT. I'm guessing Lumpkin came straight from Jos. A Bank and has like 14 more suits (and a sack of cocaine) in the trunk of his car. Seriously, how does that place stay in business? They always have the most ridiculous sales: Buy one suit, get two suits free, plus three shirts, four ties, a 1987 Buick Skylark, a half-a-pound of turnips and a free week trial of America Online.
That's a fascinating business model, you got there, Joey Banks. Absolutely fascinating.
Then there's Lanard Copeland, who is absolutely miserable. YO LENARD. YOU'RE EARNING AN NBA PAYCHECK. HOW 'BOUT CRACKIN A SMILE, YOUNG BUCK?
Then again, he's sandwiched in between Charles and Hawk, who are both sitting like a couple of jerks on the subway, taking up all the legroom, completely oblivious that someone's sitting next to them.
I UNDERSTAND YOUR PAIN, LANARD.
THIS LADY WAS ALL UP IN MY GRILL LAST WEEK.
Then there's my main man Johnny Dawkins aka Johnny Dawk-Dawk (no one called him that). This picture looks pretty harmless until you look at his sneakers: Avias. Seriously. Dawk-Dawk is wearing Avias. The only other people in 1989 who wore Avias were Hakeem Olajuwon and Jane Fonda.
Get over yourself!
But back to Dawk-Dawk. 1989 was right smack in the middle of the greatest era in basketball sneaker history. Hersey Hawkins is rocking the Nike Air Revolutions. Lanard Copeland's got the Air Flights. Even G-Man is wearing Cons. But not Dawk-Dawk, that stubborn son-of-a-bitch.
For the record, I happen to know another ill-nana point guard (and future 700 Level blogger) whose sneaker game was on point back in the day.
SMOOTHEST THIGHS IN DA BIZ, Y'ALL!
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