For a team that finished with the worst record in the NBA season, the Philadelphia 76ers have made a lot of noise this offseason. From first overall pick Ben Simmons working out with LeBron James, tantalizing Joel Embiid workouts combined with assurances that he is 100% healthy, and Dario Saric’s trip across the Atlantic, the Sixers are certainly keeping themselves in the public eye.
That level of visibility continued over Labor Day Weekend at the Made of America festival in Philadelphia, as Chance the Rapper introduced Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor and brought him on stage during the performance of his hit “Father Stretch My Hands”.
— Jahlil Okafor (@JahlilOkafor) September 5, 2016
Was this simply an instance of Chance playing to the Philadelphia crowd by bringing out one of their teams’ young stars? Or maybe, just maybe, “Father Stretch My Hands” was a physical subtweet about Okafor’s need to improve his verticality on the defensive end. Maybe Chance felt Jahlil’s 49.9% defensive field goal percentage at the rim isn’t going to get things done as the anchor of a defense. Is Chance the Rapper Team Nerlens?
Naturally, this begged the question, what other songs from Made in America artists were most befitting some of the other young Sixers? Let’s examine.
Like Okafor, Ben Simmons could have jumped on stage with a rapper, likely during DJ Khaled’s performance of I Got the Keys. Despite the team saying they wouldn’t overload him too early, it’s clear the 76ers are entrusting Simmons with the keys to the offense right from the get-go.
Guards like Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriguez, and Gerald Henderson were brought in partially due to their ability to play off the ball alongside Simmons, and his 5.5 assists per game in summer league were a glimpse of what’s to come. This is a man I would definitely trust with the keys.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) July 16, 2016
We can neither confirm or deny that Coldplay’s single Up and Up was inspired by this dunk by Jerami Grant over Ivica Zubac during Summer League.
Jerami Grant will dunk on you. https://t.co/U5hEHzxxtq
— Chris Martin Palmer (@ChrisPalmerNBA) July 10, 2016
Still, if the third-year forward is going to step up and become a legitimate rotation player in this league, he will need to expand his offensive game beyond trying to dunk on everybody at all times. Shooting 64-289 (22.1%) on jump shots last season is not going to get it done.
Like Martin Garrix, Dario Saric is an import from Europe, and his song Animals encapsulates the Croatian star’s playing style. This is a guy on had six teeth knocked out during a game against Argentina and on the same play, knocked down a three. He’s got the kind of balls-to-the-wall, dive on the floor for any loose ball attitude that is only going to cement his status as a fan favorite in Philadelphia.
Nerlens Noel has been vocal about his love for Drake’s music in the past, and he and Joel Embiid were pictured with the rapper’s father at Coachella earlier this summer. I’d like to think Noel held off on attending our fictional Sixers Made in America event at Drake’s request, so as not to steal the spotlight from the rapper’s new love interest.
Speaking of which, it’s been heavily publicized for years that Joel Embiid intends to win the heart of pop megastar Rihanna, and she has clearly still been on his mind this summer.
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 21, 2016
For Sixers fans, they’ll have to hope her ballad to the oft-injured big man is Stay (on the court), and not Rehab.