FanSince09's Lunch with Sixers CEO Adam Aron: A Troll's Remorse

FanSince09's Lunch with Sixers CEO Adam Aron: A Troll's Remorse

Special guest post by FanSince09

Back in February,  I decided I was fed up with Sixers CEO Adam Aron on Twitter, and launched into what would forever be known as "The Rant." (*) Angry Sixers fans praised me, the lamestream Sixers apologist media rushed to try to shoot holes in my arguments, but one thing was made clear by everyone: Adam Aron couldn't just ignore me. But for days, it seemed like he'd be content with just ignoring the issue.  There was no direct response to me,  even after another assault known as The Rant 2. (**)

(*) nobody calls it this
(**) nobody called it this

Fast forward to March 2nd. I was in Vegas fighting with a certain hotel's sports book because they wouldn't let me bet on how many games Hammels would lose in 2013 (***), when I got a very special twitter notification: @SixersCEOAdam is now following you. Within minutes, I got the DM: "You say you care about the Sixers. Why don't you join me for lunch one day in the next week or two and we can talk about your views in person"

(***) "All of them" is the safe bet

A few thoughts immediately raced through my mind. Is it a trap? Is a Philly sports team going to have me whacked? Then the trolls remorse set in. I was pretty vicious, I may have even legitimately hurt this guy's feelings. This sat heavily on my mind for the duration of my trip. Do I take him up on this offer? Do I break bread with a guy who I spent days viciously tearing apart? But then I realized that all of my doubts were stupid. You can't say no to a free lunch.

The meeting was set, and would go down in history as "The Summit."  For the first time, a Philly sports team was willing to sit down with the man who had established himself as the true voice of the fan base   I couldn't risk meeting Aron at the WFC, because that was his home turf.  In fact, I heard that they had one of those old style toilets like in the Godfather.   The meeting had to be on neutral ground, and I had just the place in mind.  

On March 20th, I found myself sitting on the 101 in Los Angeles in the worst traffic I'd ever experienced. Nobody had warned me that there was bad traffic in LA, and now here I was, late for my lunch with Adam Aron. Sure, this gave me some advantage. Adam was sweating,  would I show up? Was I an actual person? Was the entire Sixers fan base going to walk into the door? Was I just some a-hole who sucked at time management? (****)

(****) Yes

I walked into the restaurant 35 minutes late, but Adam was still there. Though he'd never seen a photo of me, he recognized me immediately. I was rocking my favorite ill shirt, along with my Mitchell and Ness Sixers throwback hoodie, and it was clear that stories of my swass preceded me. I greeted him formally.

"Sup, Ock?"

"You must be FanSince09."  

When getting a rich dude to buy you a free lunch, there are a lot of ways to play it.  You can order the most expensive thing on the menu, sure, but that's a rookie move. You could order the least expensive thing on the menu, or a salad, but then you risk insulting your host.  I had memorized the menu the night before. The moment I sat down, I ordered a turkey burger with sweet potato fries.  This was a pure power move that clearly impressed Adam. I was a man who knew exactly what he wanted. The turkey burger was awesome, too. Seasoned nicely without trying to make it taste like beef. The bun had the right amount of grill to it, and the sweet potato fries were crispy, but not too crispy. I completely housed that thing in about 10 minutes, washed down with a couple DCs. Totally satisfying lunch.

The end.

Oh right, the actual conversation. So anyway, for the next 45 minutes, we went over The Rant. Adam remembered all of it and then some. There was some refuting, some agreeing, some outright scolding. I learned a lot about Adam Aron. He knows what people are saying. He gets the anger and the frustration with the season. He claimed over and over that the goal was to build a winning team. We discussed the pros and cons of tanking, and he asked me what I'd do. I gave him all of my best ideas, and if the Sixers go on to build a championship team, you are welcome.

I didn't promise that I would change my tune or change my opinion, but what I did assure Adam is that ultimately, I wanted to see the Sixers build a winner. I wanted to see my fellow fans rally around the Sixers. The troll's remorse set back in. This guy reads every single tweet that is sent to him. He doesn't coordinate with the marketing department, he doesn't have a list of social media talking points, he's not working in tandem with the official Sixers social media team. This somewhat explains the disconnect there seems to be with the Sixers when it comes to social media, but it also made me realize how strange twitter can be. When you're not looking at someone face to face, you have a chance to go too far. I kept my rant based on basketball alone, but there are people who tweet at Adam every day with the worst personal attacks, threats and insults. When it's some "social media guru" running the account, they know it just comes with the territory and ignore it, but in the case of Adam Aron, he sees it all and takes it to heart (especially the threat from The Iron Sheik). If there was a lesson to be learned from all of this, it's to consider the target of future rants and realize that they do see it.

Our discussion continued all the way to the Staples Center, where Adam had secured some tickets to the Sixers-Clippers game for me. I told Adam what I expected from the Sixers that night: They would lose by less than 30. The Sixers went on to play like hot garbage while I located celebrities sitting court side -- Bruce Jenner looks like he drank from the wrong grail (*****) -- but sensing that I was in the stands, they were able to rally and only lose by 29.

(*****) Khloe looks less like Godzilla in person

Adam and I spoke again after the game, then parted ways. He said some things I agreed with, like the fact that there's no guarantee that tanking would help the team. He asked me if I really thought the fan base wanted to suffer through another 5 years of unwatchable basketball on the off chance that they would get the next Durant in the draft.  He also said some things I completely disagreed with, like Spencer Hawes being a somewhat OK basketball player. There was no epic changing of opinions, nobody's heart grew three sizes. While the team continues to stink, and the Sixers presence on Social Media continues to be an absolute disaster, I feel that Adam and I at least got a sense of where the other was coming from. He knew I'd continue to be the voice of are fanbase, while I knew he'd continue doing what he felt was best for the Sixers.

During the ride home, I thought about the night. Should I be easier on the Sixers? Should I be calmer on twitter? I don't know, and I still don't.

But one thing was completely obvious: that was an awesome turkey burger, and more teams need to buy me lunch.

*

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Joel Embiid posts amazing tribute to Sam Hinkie on Instagram

Joel Embiid posts amazing tribute to Sam Hinkie on Instagram

The treasure trove that is Joel Embiid's social media presence unearthed another jewel on Saturday evening.

The Sixers' big man took to Instagram to post a picture of himself chatting with local folk legend Sam Hinkie. As if that wasn't enough, check out the captions he wrote at the bottom.

THE GOAT #HeDiedForOurSins #TrustTheProcess

A photo posted by Joel Hans Embiid (@joelembiid) on

Let us break this down.

"THE GOAT" - As in Greatest Of All Time, not an actual goat you would find at your local petting zoo.

"#HeDiedForOurSins" - St. Sam, patron saint of analytical basketball martyrdom.

"#TrustTheProcess" - The rallying cry of the masses.

Sure, they may have taken away Sam, but they'll never take away JoJo's social media platforms. Never!

Yeah, Joel Embiid is healthy

Yeah, Joel Embiid is healthy

Have any doubts about Joel Embiid's health?

Well take a look at this. 

Working on rips into quick spins with the brodie @joelembiid! #100skills100days #unseenhours @adidashoops

A video posted by Drew Hanlen (@drewhanlen) on

How about now?

Of course, this isn't live NBA action, and it is against 5-11 Drew Hanlen, a skills coach and consultant, but it's impressive nonetheless.

 

Eagles Better or Worse 2016: Cornerbacks

Eagles Better or Worse 2016: Cornerbacks

Sad as it is to say of a defense that ranked dead last against the pass, but the Eagles probably fielded their best cornerback tandem in years in 2015. Byron Maxwell and Nolan Carroll were an upgrade over Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher, which is nothing to hang their hats on, although they weren't as bad as the numbers suggest either. Second-round draft pick Eric Rowe showed a lot of promise down the stretch as well.

Still, for the fourth time in six years, the Eagles may once again start the season with a brand new pairing at corner. Maxwell and his absurd contract were shipped out, and while Carroll and Rowe both return, they face stiff competition. The club signed Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks, both of whom played under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz with the Bills and seem to be penciled in at the top of the depth chart. And while Brooks' spot might be up for grabs, McKelvin might have his locked down.

All of which indicates there's at least one new face at corner this year, and that's before we touch on the slot. Change probably isn't a bad thing considering the Eagles' ranking through the air has nowhere to go but up. Competition is certainly welcome as well. That being said, Maxwell may have been an overpriced diva, but did the Eagles effectively replace his talent?

BETTER
Nickel cornerback

This is definitely debatable, as Malcolm Jenkins turned out to be exceptional in the slot for the Eagles last season. The problem is he's actually a safety, and the result of moving him to corner was Chris Maragos or Ed Reynolds entering the game behind him. The trade-off was worth it at the time, but far from ideal.

For 2016, it appears a third cornerback will play on the nickel package instead. As of right now, the smart money is on seventh-round rookie Jalen Mills, who was getting a lot of reps and really impressed during OTAs, although the Eagles have other options. It looks like Leodis McKelvin will earn one of the starting jobs, but could move inside in passing situations. Fellow free-agent addition Ron Brooks knows the system and could get a shot at the role as well. Even Nolan Carroll, while he's not seen much action in the slot, he probably has to play somewhere if he's going to make the team.

Are any of these alternatives to Jenkins going to be an upgrade? That might be going out on a limb. But is slight decline at nickel corner worth the significant drop-off the Eagles suffered at safety as a result? On balance, this looks like a better situation overall.

WORSE
Size

Say what you want about Maxwell, but what the Eagles are getting in scheme fit with McKelvin, they are sacrificing in size. Part of Maxwell's appeal was his 6'3" frame in a league where the wide receivers increasingly resemble NBA basketball players, and while he disappointed with his attitude and lack of physicality, he matched up well when healthy and in the right mind frame.

McKelvin is no slouch. Selected 11th overall in 2008, he's an impressive athlete with a nose for the football. He's also 5'10", will be 31 on opening day and has had trouble keeping a starting job for much of his career. Maxwell didn't live up to the huge contract he signed last offseason, but wasn't as bad as his press either. None of which to say the Eagles won't be better off with McKelvin when everything is said and done, and for a fraction of the cost. When he's giving up five inches to Dez Bryant, on the other hand, we'll find out a lot.

THE SAME
Eric Rowe, Nolan Carroll

Ron Brooks has started all of three games in four NFL seasons, so as much as he may know the scheme, it would still be an upset if he beat out either Carroll or Rowe for a starting job. And while Carroll and Rowe may not be the same as players, they're the closest thing the Eagles have to a known quantity beyond McKelvin.

Carroll is coming off of a devastating ankle injury that might help explain why there weren't many offers in free agency this offseason. Even the Eagles only gave him a one-year, non-guaranteed contract, so the seventh-year veteran must prove he's healthy. To his credit, Carroll was actually having a very solid year in 2015 prior to getting hurt, and you couldn't blame him for feeling as though this is his job to lose.

After a strong finish to last season, the assumption coming into camp was Rowe would be one of the starters. Last year's second-round pick was a bit of an afterthought during OTAs though, so there's some question what his role will be with the Eagles going forward. Then again, the simple fact is Rowe may be the most talented corner on the roster at this point, so you have to assume he has a good shot to not only earn the job in training camp, but improve upon his quality play last year. The name on the back of the jersey may be the same, but the hope remains he's still getting better.

THE UNKNOWN
Pretty much everything

This is the position we know the absolute least about for the Eagles coming into camp. Aside from McKelvin, we don't know who the other starter is, let alone the front-runner. We can't say for sure who will be in the slot, only that he'll probably be a cornerback. We don't know who the primary backups will be. We don't even know if Carroll will be on the roster until everything is said and done. As to how it all goes down, your guess is as good as ours.

BETTER OR WORSE?

With so much uncertainty, typically it might be difficult to declare whether the unit is any better or worse. When it's a last-place secondary you're talking about, that's a little different. Maxwell honestly isn't a bad corner, but McKelvin probably isn't a dramatic downgrade. Beyond that, all the Eagles did was add and retain talent. Mills could contribute immediately, Brooks is an experienced backup, Carroll can play as long as he's healthy and Rowe is another year older. If they can't piece together a dependable duo and trio out of this group, they might never get this thing right. BETTER

Previously: Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide ReceiversTight Ends, Offensive LineDefensive Line, LinebackersSafeties, Special Teams