Sure, the Philadelphia 76ers are likely to be historically bad this season and might only have "six NBA players" right now, but at least they're getting the most important thing down — the establishment, fostering and nurturing of their own hip-hop outfit.
I'm speaking, of course, of Team WHOP, which is short for "We Handle Our Problems," which is great:
— Michael Carter-Willi (@MCW1) October 7, 2013
The burgeoning crew — which may have a bit of a copyright infringement fight on its hands — consists of 2013 first-round pick Michael Carter-Williams, 2012 first-rounder and offseason trade acquisition Tony Wroten, and undrafted free agents Vander Blue and Khalif Wyatt, who have banded together as young guards trying to find their way in the world, make a name for themselves in a crowded NBA landscape and, apparently, spit a little bit on their downtime.
Like all truly successful cliques, they have a handshake:
Also, it is important that you know Team WHOP is a full-fledged movement, complete with requisite eight-minute YouTube min-documentary co-directed by Wroten (and Tom Official, duh):
Team Whop it's a movement check us new episode we a family http://t.co/dBEsRcQz21
— Vander Blue (@Vander13lue) October 23, 2013
As Wroten says in the video, the "we handle our problems" mantra works on a variety of levels — "off the court, staying focused [when] you're going through adversity," and another thing that is pretty hard to hear but I'm sure is quite positive and uplifting. (Maybe for the next installment of the Chronicles of WHOPnia, T-Wro and Tom Official can invest in some microphones.)
How's the actual rapping, though?
"They're all right," says swingman Evan Turner. "They got their own stuff. Some better than others."
"They're actually not bad," says forward Thaddeus Young. "They've made, like, three legit songs." (Which I think makes them half as legit as this Sixers roster, right?)
We'll have to take their word for it; we don't hear any of the four Philly guards rapping in the nine-minute video. There's about two minutes of Red Cafe and Fabolous' "I'm Ill" over footage from a recent Sixers open scrimmage, but that's about it, I'm afraid.
Then again, we're informed at clip's end that the saga will continue (Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang), so I'm hopeful that the next installment will include some actual bars. Only then will we know how Team WHOP measures up against NBA rappers of the past, like Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson, Chris Webber, Kobe Bryant, Joe Smith, Tony Parker, Troy Hudson, Delonte West, Steve Francis and everybody on "Basketball's Best Kept Secret," and present, like Stephen Jackson, Iman Shumpert, Lou Williams, Kevin Durant, Metta World Peace, Carlos Boozer and George Hill. (There have been a lot of NBA rappers, you guys.)
I'm now officially hoping that training-camp signees Blue (a second-team All-Big East selection at shooting guard during his time at Marquette) and Wyatt (a local product who won Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors at Temple) give head coach Brett Brown and general manager Sam Hinkie enough reason to keep them on the Philly roster for the duration of the season. We can't have something this wonderful presented to us on the eve of the season only to be immediately yanked away by roster cuts. C'mon, Sixers. We're not asking for much out of you at all this season. Just give us this one thing, OK?
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