76ers

Amazing photos of Sixers players drinking, ranked

Amazing photos of Sixers players drinking, ranked

The Sixers, when not frustrating their fans, are actually a lot of fun. They have a blend of young guys - Matisse Thybulle, Joel Embiid, Furkan Korkmaz - who love being silly on camera, and more serious guys - Al Horford, Ben Simmons - who are even funnier when they let their guard down.

For some reason, the team's meme-ability has popped up time and time again in a specific format: hilarious photos of players drinking. Gatorade. Smoothies. Jack, no ice. It's all been part of the Sixers' lighthearted brand, and we love it.

The 2019-20 Sixers in particular have leaned into gifting us with reaction photos of the guys drinking and sipping. Matisse Thybulle began the trend back in early January, when he left a few selfies on Tobias Harris's phone... and Harris exposed the rook:

The photo of Thybulle mid-glug is just perfect:

During a trip to New York City, Thybulle bemoans the fact that he goes viral for everything. As a rookie subject to a little friendly hazing, and as a digitally savvy player coming up in the social media age, Thybulle might be a perfect storm for the internet.

But it's not just the young guys taking sips. After a big late-January win over the Lakers at home, Al Horford entered the fray with a post-game smoothie (see story). Because the Sixers big man is 6-feet, 10-inches tall, and has the typically gigantic hands of a basketball player, there's something extremely comical (and meme-able) about this photo of Horford savoring a tiny smoothie after the win:

Then, as the team prepared this week to return from the All-Star break, the Sixers' digital team blesesd us with yet another glorious instance of Sixers players hydrating:

There's a lot to look at in these photos, but Richardson - mid-sip, looking coyly at Shake Milton - is the obvious highlight, and Sixers fans pounced on using it as a reaction immediately:

These all, of course, come on the heels of an iconic Sixers moment, one that helped accelerate the creation of the Mike Scott Hive:

The Hive was already a few weeks old at that point, but Scott's sip - the timing, the face, and the fact that he told us later what the woman was drinking - is an all-timer and absolutely helped propel Scott from Cool Dude to Cult Hero.

There must be something intrinsically funny about photos of people drinking. It's a time-honored reaction photo tradition, from the classic Kermit (Tea Lizard) photo to the more recent screencap of Baby Yoda holding some bone broth. Is it the faces we make when we're drinking? Some sort of suspense that builds while people drink and we await what's next? It's hard to pin down, but boy does it work.

Now, it's hard to rank these four, because I love them all so much, but if I must...

4. Richardson
3. Horford
2. Thybulle
1. Scott, because you just can't top a classic

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Practice? All Sixers' Matisse Thybulle has to work with is a mini hoop

Practice? All Sixers' Matisse Thybulle has to work with is a mini hoop

Matisse Thybulle’s life had been fixated on basketball. He’d studied film and scouting reports, attended shootarounds and practices, traveled on planes across the country with his teammates and played in 57 games as an NBA rookie. 

That’s no longer the case. With the NBA season suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, Thybulle explained Monday in a remote interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Serena Winters that basketball is now a much smaller part of his life.

It’s really limited,” he said of his basketball activity. “I’ve felt guilty because I haven’t really been doing much of basketball at all, just because I don’t have access to a gym and I care about my neighbors enough not to pound a basketball through my apartment building. I’ve been looking at other NBA players, seeing what they’re doing, what they’re saying. It seems to be a trend, that a lot of guys, they don’t have access. And if they do, they’re too worried to be around people or be exposed to too much. It’s going to be interesting to see what we’re all looking like once we come out of this.

This season, Thybulle’s rookie campaign, has perhaps been the most bizarre one in league history. On Opening Night, he guarded the Celtics' Kemba Walker and admitted it was “intimidating,” remarking that he’d played before as Walker in NBA2K. In late March, Thybulle was back playing virtual basketball, falling to the Suns’ Mikal Bridges in a 2K matchup both teams streamed on Twitch.   

“It’s not my area of experience,” he said with a smile. “You want to get a Rubik’s Cube-solving contest? I’m pretty sure I’ll win. I’ll take any NBA player, I’m pretty sure I can win that. But in terms of video games, I’ll do it socially to talk with my friends and hang out with my friends, but I’m not good.” 

While he hasn’t been entirely separate from his teammates during this time — the players have stayed in touch through a group chat and a couple of team Zoom calls, he said — Thybulle has mostly been isolated in an apartment with his cousin. The 23-year-old had plenty of time to meditate, do yoga, read, workout and consider life outside of basketball (see story). 

When he’s had a chance to play a miniature version of basketball, though, it hasn’t gone very well. 

 “I ordered a little mini hoop that I put on my door,” he said. “If you saw my TikTok, you’ll see that I’m not too good at shooting on it. I think I went 9 for 100. … Not my best day.”

In the time he’s not bricking mini hoop jumpers, Thybulle said he has thought some about how the NBA might change moving forward. As a rookie, it’s an especially odd position to be in — considering how all the rhythms and habits you’d finally become comfortable with could change.

“I think about it, but I’d just gotten used to the NBA,” he said. “I was just starting to figure it out and be good, and then everything gets changed and uprooted. I don’t know what could work. But I think it’s an interesting opportunity for the NBA to make some changes that maybe they’d wanted to make or been meaning to make and hadn’t had an opportunity. 

“There could be some changes that could stick for a while, or there could be some changes that we don’t like, and then we just go back to the regular thing. But I think it’s an interesting opportunity to just try out some different things, because we’ll have to, honestly.” 

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Sixers' Matisse Thybulle talks TikTok, reading, life in self-quarantine

Sixers' Matisse Thybulle talks TikTok, reading, life in self-quarantine

For Sixers rookie Matisse Thybulle, life during self-quarantine started out as it did many of us.

Reading books, including To Kill a Mockingbird and Freakonomics; workouts in which he did step-ups on his bed while holding a box (don’t worry, he’s since gotten his hands on some free weights!); yoga; meditating in the morning; walking outside when the weather was willing; and group chats and video calls with teammates, family and friends. He even built a Lego — a small Porsche, he said, that fits in his hand.

But unlike many of us, Thybulle decided not to spend his time binge-watching TV shows or movies.

“Because I want to do things that I don't (normally) have time to do, and I've always had time to find TV shows to binge-watch," he said in an interview Monday with NBC Sports Philadelphia. 

So, Thybulle did something that he says was completely out of his comfort zone, creating a TikTok account. It's something that he says still feels awkward for him, a guy who admits he's uncomfortable in front of the camera. 

“I know, it's pretty backwards,” Thybulle joked about his new hobby. “It's quite unfortunate.” 

And it takes a lot of time.

“The one where I was dribbling around in my jersey took all day — like, hours," he said with a laugh.

Thybulle has also gotten used to a new diet —he's eating gluten-free and dairy-free, thanks to his cousin that he’s been staying with — and figuring out a way to fill his competitive hunger without basketball games.

“For me, competition has always been largely an internal battle,” he explained. “Competing with myself, I find that a huge challenge and hugely rewarding if I can exceed expectations.

So how does he compete with himself while being isolated? He might pick an activity that he doesn’t necessarily enjoy doing, like stretching, tell himself he wants to reach a certain goal of being more flexible, and achieve it.

“Some days, it’s hard to motivate yourself to do something productive," he said. "I find it rewarding to actually not be a lazy bum and sit on the couch, and be productive. I find that's like competition.”

But along with making TikToks, reading books, practicing yoga, stretching and building legos, this time has given Thybulle even more opportunity to think.

Not just about basketball, though he’s been reflective of his rookie year.

As a whole, because you get so caught up in the day to day, preparing for each game, every micro-detail, you can lose sight of the big picture," he said. "To step back and embrace the fact that I made it to the NBA, I played in the NBA, I started an NBA game, I've scored, I've gotten steals, I've done all these things as a kid you dream of. ... For me, to be able to look back on a short season, but my first season, and see all the stuff that I achieved, it's cool. It helps put things in perspective.

He's also been thinking about life outside of basketball. 

“To think about what my life means, for me, and what I want to achieve, it has been eye-opening," he said, "and I think it will be cool once we can try to get back to a normal life, to see how people use what they have been able to learn about themselves during this time, and act on that once we are back out in the real world.

“I'm a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and that good or bad, there is something to be learned from it. I know that this has been a tragic time and really hard for a lot of people, but it has also given us a great opportunity to just remember the human aspect of life, that it is not just about your job or what your status is ... appreciating just what it is to be alive, be happy, be healthy, have friends, and people who you look after and who look after you. This has been a really difficult time for a lot of people, but this has also brought a lot of people together.”

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