The Evster breaks down the 1989-90 Sixers team photo

The Evster breaks down the 1989-90 Sixers team photo

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 ...


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.



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.

Whatever, 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.


Follow the Evster @TVMWW.

Anthem singer at Sixers-Heat game kneels during performance

Anthem singer at Sixers-Heat game kneels during performance

MIAMI — A woman performing the national anthem before an NBA preseason game in Miami on Friday night did so while kneeling at midcourt, and opening her jacket to show a shirt with the phrase "Black Lives Matter."

The singer was identified by the Heat as Denasia Lawrence. It was unclear if she remained in the arena after the performance, and messages left for her were not immediately returned.

Heat players and coaches stood side-by-side for the anthem, all with their arms linked as has been their custom during the preseason. Many had their heads down as Lawrence sang, and the team released a statement saying it had no advance knowledge that she planned to kneel.

"We felt as a basketball team that we would do something united, so that was our focus," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Throughout all of this, I think the most important thing that has come out is the very poignant, thoughtful dialogue. We've had great dialogue within our walls here and hopefully this will lead to action."

The anthem issue has been a major topic in the sports world in recent months, starting with the decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to not stand for its playing. Kaepernick cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for his protest, and athletes from many sports -- and many levels, from youth all the way to professional -- have followed his lead in various ways.

"All I can say is what we've seen in multiple preseason games so far is our players standing for the national anthem," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in New York earlier Friday, at a news conference following the league's board of governors meetings. "It would be my hope that they would continue to stand for the national anthem. I think that is the appropriate thing to do."

The NBA has a rule calling for players and coaches to stand during the anthem.

Heat guard Wayne Ellington often speaks about the need to curb gun violence, after his father was shot and killed two years ago. He had his eyes closed for most of the anthem Friday, as per his own custom, though was aware of Lawrence's actions.

"At the end of the day, to each his own," Ellington said. "If she feels like that's the way she wants to stand for it, then more power to her."

Making a statement in the manner that Lawrence did Friday is rare, but not unheard of in recent weeks.

When the Sacramento Kings played their first home preseason game earlier this month, anthem singer Leah Tysse dropped to one knee as she finished singing the song.

Tysse is white. Lawrence is black.

"I love and honor my country as deeply as anyone yet it is my responsibility as an American to speak up against injustice as it affects my fellow Americans," Tysse wrote on Facebook. "I have sung the anthem before but this time taking a knee felt like the most patriotic thing I could do. I cannot idly stand by as black people are unlawfully profiled, harassed and killed by our law enforcement over and over and without a drop of accountability."

Joel Embiid ends preseason on impressive note, has Sixers excited

Joel Embiid ends preseason on impressive note, has Sixers excited

MIAMI — It’s a cautious optimism to be sure — there can be no other type for the Sixers right now given their history of injuries — but you can tell the team is starting to get excited about Joel Embiid.

In Friday’s 113-110 exhibition finale win over the Miami Heat (see game story), Embiid scored 18 points in 18 minutes before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.

The 7-0 center, who missed his first two NBA seasons because of foot surgeries, made 8 of 16 shots and 2 of 2 on free throws, adding a game-high nine rebounds.

“I’ve always felt like I’m a complete player — that’s what I do,” Embiid said. “I’m starting to get easy points.

“I just got better every game [in the preseason], defensively, offensively.”

Sixers coach Brett Brown said he is still learning how to best use Embiid.

Brown added that the rust is apparent in Embiid’s game. But …

“He is as self-taught as any player I’ve ever been around,” Brown said. “He grew up in Cameroon and hasn’t played a lot (because of injuries). But he studies, he looks at stuff. He pays attention. He’s instinctively curious.

“There’s a lot of stuff in his head that he thinks through. His mind is quicker than his feet. At times, his core, his balance and his decision-making are off because his mind is working faster than his body.”

Embiid scored most of his buckets on Friday at close range — a finger roll, a tip-in, a couple of put-back dunks, an alley-oop dunk and a fast-break layup. But he did make a 10-foot jumper and took — but missed — a three-point try.

“He does stuff in a game that makes you step back and say, ‘Wow,’” Brown said. “He will trail and hit a three. He will have a pound, pound drop-step, dunk.

“Like a traditional post, he will turn his face and make a bank shot. He has that up-and-under stuff.

“But he’s raw. His preseason has been highlighted by those few things that you notice, all under the umbrella of, ‘He really has a chance to be very, very good.’"

Brown was asked to summarize the Sixers' 2-5 preseason, and he called it a “completely erratic” exhibition season because of injuries.

“Jahlil [Okafor] hasn’t practiced,” Brown said. “Joel has been steady and incremental. I think we all see that Dario Saric has got a lot to offer. I think the pairing of Joel and Dario was solid.

“We’ve seen Jerami [Grant] have a really good preseason. Richaun Holmes has taken his opportunity to play big minutes. Those type of things come to my mind.”