Joel Embiid causes uproar with forecast of Cavaliers’ demise, Sixers’ rise

Joel Embiid causes uproar with forecast of Cavaliers’ demise, Sixers’ rise

“Joel Embiid predicts 76ers will end Cavs’ reign as soon as next year” -- Sporting News

If Joel Embiid does one thing almost as well as he plays basketball, it’s make headlines. The only problem with that is occasionally his words wind up getting blown out of proportion.

Technically, Embiid expressed his belief that the Sixers can compete with LeBron James and the defending world-champion Cleveland Cavaliers next season. Then again, promoting that as the heart of Embiid’s statement really isn’t in the spirit of what he said.

You be the judge. Is Embiid predicting the Sixers will end the Cavaliers’ reign, as multiple outlets are suggesting? Or is he simply observing the Sixers are built to one day take the Cavaliers’ place as the class of the Eastern Conference, and should be able to fight for a spot at the table as soon as 2018?

“I think we’re building up at the right time and when we start getting good that’s when Cleveland and LeBron (James) will start going down,” Embiid said at the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday, via Keith Pompey for the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I think when it is all said and done and we actually mature and are ready to compete for a championship, I think we’ll be great.”

“When I say we are going to be ready to win when the Cavs are going down, that doesn’t mean five years. Next year, I think we are going to be ready to win.”

It’s pretty clear what Embiid was driving at here. James is 32 and bound to start slowing down soon. As he does, the Cavs will slide with him. Meanwhile, the Sixers are set to make their fourth consecutive top-three pick in the NBA draft this year. They have a chance to develop into a dominant force over the next decade, but if everybody is healthy, are certainly talented enough to compete right now.

That seems fair. The condensed version, on the other hand, only aims to put a target on the Sixers’ backs.

“Joel Embiid says 76ers gearing up to beat Cavaliers, LeBron James” -- ESPN

“Joel Embiid Says 76ers Will Win Next Year” -- Bleacher Report

“Joel Embiid Says Lebron and Cavs ‘Going Down’” -- Total Pro Sports

The fact of the matter is Embiid is correct -- that is, what Embiid actually said. The Cavaliers are built around the best player in the NBA, and as his talent erodes, their time at the top dwindles. Whenever that time comes, five years from now or next, the Sixers will be poised to strike.

Then again, there was one story that both takes Embiid to task and probably has it right.

“Joel Embiid is targeting the Cavaliers but he should be aiming for the Celtics” -- Philadelphia Daily News

With the Boston Celtics emerging from the lottery with the No. 1 pick, already playing the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals and sharing the Atlantic Division with the Sixers, Embiid may have his sights sets on toppling the wrong foe.

Even on honeymoon, Jon Dorenbos performs wild magic trick with coin

Even on honeymoon, Jon Dorenbos performs wild magic trick with coin

Magic never stops.

Not even on Jon Dorenbos' honeymoon.

The Eagles' long snapper and magic enthusiast is enjoying picturesque Bora Bora with his wife Annalise.

Still, fresh off his wedding and surrounded by water way too blue, Dorenbos wasn't about to stop entertaining us as he posted this crazy coin trick on his Instagram account.

Bora Bora Magic - I love this move. @apollorobbins showed me this 15 years ago. #honeymoon

A post shared by Jon Dorenbos (@jondorenbos) on

Pretty darn cool — and, seriously, how does he do it?

And don't worry, Dorenbos is clearly having a great time on the honeymoon, not just blowing our minds with cool magic.

Amazing. #honeymoon #paradise

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How Jim Thome got his batting stance thanks to Charlie Manuel and 'The Natural'

How Jim Thome got his batting stance thanks to Charlie Manuel and 'The Natural'

If there's anyone in the world I could sit next to for hours and listen to talk about baseball it would be former Phillies manager and World Champion of baseball Charlie Manuel.

Charlie is still very involved in the Phillies organization to this day and we're lucky enough to have 45 minutes of his time talking ball with longtime Phillies scribe Jim Salisbury.

Those two know the Phillies just about as well as anybody, so there's plenty of meat on the bone to chew on. The duo chatted for a recent episode of Sully's "At The Yard" podcast.

The story that caught my ear the most was Charlie's telling of how Jim Thome came to have that somewhat-goofy stance before he hits. It was a timing mechanism that Manuel stumbled upon in the strangest of ways.

This was when both Charlie and Jim were working for a Cleveland Indians' affiliate in the minors. 

"We were playing in Scranton and it was a Phillies triple-A team at the time. I kept thinking of a timing mechanism of some kind, a waggle or something, what Thome could do with his bat where he wouldn't tense up, where it would help him to relax and everything."

"I came into our locker room early," Manuel said. "I didn't let my players turn the TV on after a certain time. I came through the clubhouse that day, they had 'The Natural' on. I told 'em to turn it off. Some of the players said, 'Hey, Charlie, we're watching The Natural can we watch the end of The Natural? I said, 'Not really, what's the rule?'

"I saw Robert Redford standing there pointing the bat with one hand, bringing it back. I looked over at Thome, I said, 'you can finish watching the movie. From now on that's going to be your load.' I took him down in the cage and worked with him. The game started and the Phillies had a left-handed pitcher named [Kyle] Abbott. He was pitching that day. I told Jimmy, 'From now on that's your stance.' He gets up there the first time up, Abbott throws him a breaking ball away and he hit a home run to left center... I mean a longways. He come up the next time he hit another one to right center. I think he had three hits that day."

"That's a true story," Manuel added.

It sounds to good to be true. So we did a little research and Thome has told the same tale on a television special out in Chicago last summer.

"We were in Scranton and I was a guy who held the bat still and would go from a standstill and swing," Thome explained. "(Charlie) was watching The Natural and he saw that (Hobbs) kind of had this little wiggle to his stance, and I remember the day. We went out the next day, we worked early and he said 'Do me a favor and try holding the bat out there (pointing towards the pitcher) and get a little rhythm with your swing.' And from that day I never looked back. The following day we played a doubleheader and I hit two home runs."

You can listen to the whole podcast with Jim Salisbury and Charlie Manuel right here.