You may recall that, late in the year of last, we broke down the Sixers’ courtside celeb game in the wake of Meek Mill’s prison sentence. In the months that followed, the city rallied behind Meek and his song became a rallying cry for the Eagles en route to WINNING THE SUPER BOWL (fuck, that feels good to type). The whole landscape of the city has been transformed by on-field success and a Process-y swag that pervades the Illadelph, or whatever it is the douchebags call it these days. A new DA has even vowed #freemeek from the clink.
— Arthur Nivsky (@artay3) March 21, 2018
But while runner-up superfans M. Night and Kevin Hart, who dealt himself a serious blow with a podium-stairs mishap at said Super Bowl, have faded from the pack, new entrants have emerged.
Phillies owner John Middleton has inserted himself into the conversation with his impassioned Eagles fandom. Chase Fucking Utley and Rob McElhenney shocked the world. And even Macaulay Culkin is in the mix.
But it’s Meek’s friend, Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin, an admitted Patriots fan, who has established himself as the alpha dog and deep pockets of the courtside celeb game. Behold:
That’s his shoulder, which is worth more than me.
Here he is last year with Robert Kraft:
And here along with that weirdly-friendly dude from the car commercials, whom I actually bumped into in the club level at the Ritz the morning of the Super Bowl parade:
Some photos from John Clark’s fabulous Instagram (@johnclarknbc)
Tweets like the one from Arthur are not uncommon. Rubin is everywhere, including on TMZ at Joel Embiid’s 24th birthday party:
That same day, Embiid posted an IG video (I so wished I had screen capped it) in which he threw at least $20k down on a meatball challenge. There were assorted friends and smoking hot ladies in the video, along with what appeared to be Rubin himself (unconfirmed), who one might hypothesize was the other person in the room who could afford the ante in Embiid’s meatastic game.
Personally, I’ve never been aware of a sports owner who publicly parties with his players. But we’ve also never experienced a Michael Rubin.
A self-made billionaire, Rubin started a series of ski repair shops as a kid, attended Villanova for like two weeks, and then founded GSI Commerce, which served as the e-commerce home for several large brands, including all the major sports leagues and the MLS. [I used to work there and was on, like, one email with Rubin, probably so he could yell at me for screwing something up for a pain in the ass client, MLB Advanced Media.] In 2012, he sold GSI to eBay for $2.4 billion and thus became mega rich. He retained the sports portion of the business, Fanatics, merging it with several others to form local company Kynetic. Needless to say, he is a major player in the sports world, hence his ability to hang out with Robert Kraft, Allen Iverson and countless others. He was recently on CNBC and, after professing his love for Kraft and the Patriots, told the Squawk Box crew that the NFL Shop sold 67,000(!) underdog t-shirts.
He also possesses the unique ability to find the camera… or at least find the guy who the camera finds, and seat them next to him, presumably in guest-of-the-Sixers seats. It is for that reason, and also his billions, and his influence, and throwing down with Joel Embiid, that we award Rubin, Sixers co-owner, the crown in the Sixers courtside celeb game… at least until his buddy Meek is freed and resumes his rightful place atop the charts and earns his legend-status as the behind-the-bars DJ of the Eagles’ championship run. HOLD UP WAIT A MINUTE!