In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, and taking into consideration the plethora of unique personalities we have right now in the city of Philadelphia, here’s a list of the most lovable current Philadelphia athletes.
This guy is a 7-2, 250-pound teddy bear. Unlike many athletes and coaches, Embiid has fun — whether it’s on the free throw line, engaging his adoring home crowd with an arm wave as the “Trust the Process” chants waft down from the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center, or trolling opposing players on social media.
Embiid reacted as any fan in the stands would to Jake Elliott's hitting a 61-yard field goal. Or as his late night run through the streets of Philadelphia showed, JoJo gets it and he gets us.
Much like Embiid, Wentz is a flat-out stud on the field and a genuine person off it. He truly walks the walk. All this cat cares about is faith, football, and hunting. His handling of his season-ending injury and the ensuing encouragement and coaching he gave Nick Foles is a blueprint for every athlete young and old. As tough as it had to be for him, Wentz never made it about himself.
How can’t you love this little dude? Undrafted, overlooked, given no chance to make an NBA roster out of college, Timothy John not only stuck but has also now become a vital piece of Brett Brown’s rotation. His bromance with Dario Saric is the stuff of buddy flicks. All you needed to know about how McConnell’s teammates feel about him was their reaction after he recorded his first career triple-double against the Knicks.
Short in his Philly tenure but long (no pun intended) in heart. Long embodies giving back. It’s well-documented that he donated all of his game checks this year to charitable organizations, and he also has his Waterboy Foundation (waterboy.org) which provides clean water for communities in East Africa. Add in the fact that for a part-time player, he made an inordinate amount of huge plays this season for the Eagles, and his choice of wardrobe for the Birds' Super bowl parade was on point. An Allen Iverson throwback jersey under a fake mink coat with shades. Enough said.
No list of this sort can be complete without the Eagles' Mummer-loving, speech to end all speeches, pulling center. From sporting Ocean Drive t-shirts to being a fixture in the community, Kelce is Philly through and through, even though he's from Ohio. His parade speech somehow usurped Chase F. Utley’s one-liner on Halloween 2008.
Doug Pederson, Brandon Graham, Dario Saric, Lane Johnson, Brett Brown, Jalen Mills, Malcolm Jenkins.