Sixers draft pick Jared McCain has done a couple of TikToks at the practice facility:

These are absolutely horrendous video clips, but I guess the kids are into it. That’s fine. We are not the target demographic. One thing we should all aspire not to be is the old man yelling at the clouds because the “youths” like some shit that we find to be totally weird. At one point, JNCO jeans and tramp stamps were all the rage, and the 40  year olds of the 1990s probably thought those two things were just as cringe as TikTok dances and painted nails in 2024. Their parents probably thought the same of the 1970s bellbottoms and 1980s mullets.

As expected, the social media replies cover everything from “this is gay” to some version of “he won’t last in Philly.” It’s true that Mike from Mayfair might not go for this, but it also doesn’t matter what Mike from Mayfair thinks. Why? Because if Jared McCain bombs some three pointers and plays hard and gets the job done on the floor, then nobody will be talking about painted nails or TikTok videos or cringey dances. They’ll be talking about a first round draft pick who fires daggers for a title contender.

We’ve created over the years this archetypal Philadelphia athlete, the blue-collar grinder with a killer attitude who leaves it all out there. Brian Dawkins, Allen Iverson, Jason Kelce, etc. But there are just as many players, if not more, who don’t fit the bill and had successful careers here anyway. How many people are fans of Joel Embiid’s social media trolling? What about Donovan McNabb’s aloofness? You could argue he never meshed with a portion of the Eagles fan base and wound up being a six-time Pro Bowler who went to a Super Bowl. What about Darius Slay saying dumb shit on YouTube and Ben Simmons running around with a Kardashian? Carson Wentz was a North Dakota hunter playing quarterback in a blue city, Malcolm Jenkins was sending social justice messages in the locker room, and a bunch of the Phillies are Trump voters.

But Philly sports fans really did not care about those things when Wentz was on track for the MVP in 2017, Malcolm Jenkins was playing at a Pro Bowl level every weekend, and the Phils were mashing en route to the World Series.

Point being, the Philadelphia athlete oftentimes does not fit the profile that we prefer, or share the same regional values. That’s going to be the case when you’re sourcing players from all over the country, or, in the case of the Sixers, the globe. There are generational gaps and evolutions in sports psychology – concepts like mental health and load management that blue collar Philly might find foreign. But even if that remains the case, these things aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. You can be successful and cringe at the same time. Just ask Kevin Durant, Russell Wilson, and half of the UFC roster.

If Jared McCain knocks down some three pointers, then nothing else matters, as Metallica once said. No one in Philly will care about his nails or social media accounts.

edit – I would also add that it seems like the guy is authentic, right? dude is being himself. it would be more cringe if he did the Nick Sirianni and Bryce Harper pandering routine, and showed up to the practice facility wearing an Eagles sweatshirt, Phillies hat, Sixers wristband, and Flyers socks

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