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They did it. They really did it.
When public address announcer Matt Cord introduced the Philadelphia 76ers’ starting lineup prior to their Tuesday night tilt against the Orlando Magic, he assented to a recent request by rookie center Joel Embiid to add a certain nickname to his intro:
Yes: he really is Joel “The Process” Embiid now.
You’ll recall that the 22-year-old Cameroonian big man long ago adopted “Trust the Process” — a phrase popularized during the years-long rebuild overseen by Sixers general manager/submarine commander Sam Hinkie, as communicated by then-Philly guard Tony Wroten to ESPN’s Pablo Torre (“They tell us every game, every day, ‘Trust the Process.’ Just continue to build.”) — as something of a personal credo.
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To outsiders, “The Process” came to define Hinkie’s overarching approach to roster-building, which prepared the 76ers to lose as many games as possible in an attempt to snag high-upside, cost-controlled young talent at the top of the draft. To the faithful, though, “Trust the Process” became the house words of a strain of Sixers fandom that believed Hinkie’s sink-to-the-bottom approach in pursuit of championship-caliber talent superior to the water-treading ways of years past, when Philly seemed to have little hope of anything more transcendent than 45 wins and a shot at the second round of the playoffs.
Hinkie’s oversight of the Process ended this past April, when he stepped down in a transfer of basketball-decision-making power to then-chairman Jerry Colangelo and his son, Hinkie’s successor, former Toronto Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo. Embiid, however, continues to ride for the guy who drafted him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft despite back and foot issues, and who stuck by his side through two years lost due to injury. From a recent feature by Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins:
Hinkie was there for Embiid when [his brother] Arthur died, sitting in his apartment with Brown and Mbah a Moute, then flying him to Cameroon for the funeral. He was there last season, when the Sixers nearly upset the Warriors at Wells Fargo Center, and Embiid stomped excitedly around the suite. He is not there anymore, having resigned in April, but Embiid channels Hinkie every time he references The Process, which occurs nearly every time he opens his mouth. “I think a lot about what I went through and how it prepared me to be a better man,” Embiid says. “I really feel like I’m The Process, like The Process is about me.”
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