For years, fans of the Philadelphia 76ers have been urging themselves and others to “Trust the Process,” a mantra born to both describe and cope with former GM Sam Hinkie’s “you can’t reach new heights until you discover new lows” team-building strategy. Now, the crown jewel from among Hinkie’s cache of assets, Joel Embiid, wants to put a fresh spin on a familiar refrain.
Per Philly.com’s John Smallwood, Embiid asked Sixers PA announcer Matt Cord to introduce him as Joel “The Process” Embiid, a request which was not complied with prior to Thursday night’s preseason game against the Wizards. Embiid has also added “The Process” nickname to his Instagram page.
Given the fact that Hinkie was one of his biggest proponents and the man who drafted him, I’d say it’s to Embiid’s credit that he has been trying to keep the memory of Hinkie’s tenure with the team alive. Embiid used the #HeDiedForOurSins hashtag earlier this summer, and nearly always drops at least one “Trust the Process” during interviews. However, I would argue that this latest development is the rookie big man’s first misstep in his public relations strategy. That being because…
YOU CAN’T NICKNAME YOURSELF!
There isn’t exactly a set of commandments for nicknames chiseled into stone, but if there was, not nicknaming yourself would likely be considered the Golden Rule. Remember Dwayne Wade trying to use WoW, a.k.a. “Way of Wade?” Even good friend “King” James called it corny.
How about when Kevin Durant wanted to be called “The Servant,” killing a perfectly wonderful “Slim Reaper” nickname in the process? Harrison Barnes went with the “Black Falcon,” and you can listen to Andrew Bogut call out Barnes for trying to take it back to know how that worked out. Austin Rivers wanted people to call him “Sub Zero,” which is ironically the exact number of people who thought that was a good idea. I’d start listing all of Shaq’s failed nickname attempts, except I’m trying to keep this article fairly tight.
Only two examples come to mind that have worked out to any degree. “Black Mamba” only stuck because if you ever tried to point out how lame it was, an army of Kobe-stans would berate you on social media, so you just dropped the argument entirely. At least “Vino” died its rightful death. “Swaggy P” works because nothing at all about Nick Young seems to follow normal societal rules, so why should his nickname?
That’s what Joel Embiid is up against if he wants to make “The Process” nickname stick. He either has to inspire millions upon millions around the world to such a degree that they would be willing to drive to Temecula to defend his honor, or he has to become one of the league’s premiere sideshows. The first path is exceedingly unlikely and the second is not the direction anyone wants for Embiid’s career. So my advice to Joel would be to keep impressing on the court and the nickname will come naturally.
I Trust the Process. And I trust Joel Embiid. But I maintain that those are two separate things and should remain that way.