FULTZ! FULTZ! FULTZ! FULTZ! Blend the Fultz-Skol chants into a power shake and get in my throat. Here’s video from Investor Jeff, who was standing next to me:
There is nothing more Philly than our continued cucking of Minnesota. I mean, imagine being a Vikings fan. You show up to Philly, do that stupid Skol chant on the Art Museum steps only to have turned around on you as your team gets trounced, and then months later it continues to float away as it has now become a template upon which we build all of our of single-syllable celebratory cries. FULTZ! FULTZ! FULTZ! FULTZ! Oh, and now you’ve got to put up with it again when the Vikings return to play sacrificial lamb at our Super Bowl banner raising ceremony. SK-LOL!
I’m sorry, where were we?
Ah yes, the Sixers, Markelle Fultz, and this fucking positive vibe that possesses my veins.
I got word through a group text while on 476 driving down to the game last night. Siri interrupted my chosen audio. A 484 area code says “Markelle Fultz is playing tonight.” Would you like to reply? FUCK YES I WOULD! But before I had the chance, the phone was ringing. It was Russ, all waggy like a puppy who got a new toy on Christmas morning. FULTZ IS PLAYING!
Play he did. And with the exception of some poor lane timing, significant amounts of rust, and a hesitancy to shoot the three, he looked great. His athleticism is undeniable, his ability to create if not for himself then others provides a new dimension, and the tantalizing prospect of what could be now soaks the palate. Fultz was quasi-confident, clearly an upgrade off the bench, and looked like shades of the player we expected when the Sixers moved up to draft him first overall.
It’s the latest morsel of deliciousness in a city whose rivers increasingly resemble Wonka’s chocolate flow. Oh, just sewage? Whatevs. Sports are back and in a big way.
While all this is going on, let’s throw it over to the sidelines, where Super Bowl Champion Alshon Jeffery is taking in yet another game. Two more of his teammates, De’Vante Bausby (whoever the hell that is) and Mack Hollins, rang the bell, the latter of which reprised his viral dance with impromptu aplomb. Super Dario was there:
Omg the Dario fist pump, my heart. pic.twitter.com/qoL6TgCW8F
— Jamie Gray (@Philliesfreak) March 27, 2018
During another timeout, the Villanova fight song in support of yet another Final Four appearance. At what point do we start calling ourselves The City of Champions? Does that comes after Villanova wins next week, or after the Sixers’ two titles over the next three years? I suppose it doesn’t matter.
Naturally, this being Philly, the game was not without controversy:
Markelle Fultz looked good in his return for the Sixers last night —right up until he refused to answer questions about a shoulder injury that cost him most of his rookie season. What is he hiding? Why won’t he talk about it? The fans deserve answers.
— Angelo Cataldi (@AngeloCataldi) March 27, 2018
Kevin wrote at length about this earlier– he, along with Sarah Todd, were the two reporters asking tough questions of Bryan Colangelo, who unsurprisingly found the courage to meet with the media last night once Fultz was ready to return to the court, and Fultz. There was much Twitter consternation over this. Why sour the moment?
I’m torn on how to feel about this. These questions asked of Collars and Fultz were entirely fair, and I’d argue necessary. Fultz’s absence was weird and awkward and needlessly clandestine. How Fultz isn’t prepped with an answer for this question is beyond me. Here, I’ll do it:
You know what, that’s behind me. I’m not going to talk about it. It’s behind me and I felt good out there tonight. Believe me, no one was more frustrated that I wasn’t out there than me. So I’m just going to respectfully decline to comment further.
Rather, Fultz looks immature and Colangelo looks nefarious as he is wont to do.
But this story is nothing but a small sidecar to what was otherwise a great night. Media folks have the unique ability to make the story about them. It’s not, or at least it wasn’t last night. You have to know your audience. I’m hardly always perfect in this regard, but I can certainly see when others aren’t either. Fans are ecstatic today. Rightfully. We suddenly care little about Fultz’s absence. We’re just glad he’s back. Sports aren’t like news and politics in that they have real-world consequences– they’re an emotional roller coaster, and right now we’re just riding it with our hands in the air. Clapping. FULTZ! FULTZ! FULTZ! FULTZ!
Fultz skol chant coming through at The Center! pic.twitter.com/pAjVPzLDOp
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 27, 2018