There's nothing that bonds a fanbase like universal dislike. It's much harder to find things that are universally loved, because there's always a minority that loves to hate. The Beatles. Breaking Bad. Chase Utley. All excellent, but with a small minority of people who just refuse to hop on board, for whatever reason.
There are some things, however, that pretty much nobody will voice support for. At first, they'll remain loyal, but eventually, they'll give up, finding absolutely no redeeming qualities. Something that would warrant a negative integer as an approval rating.
One of those things has been Arnett Moultrie, the longest-tenured Sixer on the roster.
For the longest two years, three months, and six days in the history of basketball, Arnett Moultrie has been a part of our lives. He was acquired in a draft night trade with Miami in 2012 that has haunted our nightmares ever since, that will eventually require the surrender of two second round draft picks to the Boston Celtics. After being glued to the bench for much of his rookie season by the visionary who drafted him, Doug Collins, many thought the next season would be the ultimate test of Moultrie's future as an NBA player. Here now, I present to you a brief sampling of Moultrie's greatest hits from last season.
76ers F Arnett Moultrie suffered an injury to his left ankle last week & had surgery Thursday. He will return after the new year, per team.— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) September 27, 2013
#Sixers Arnett Moultrie: "I'm sick of all the excuses." Said his ankle and conditioning are not reasons he's been told he's not playing yet.— Christopher A. Vito (@ChrisVito) February 3, 2014
NBA announced 76ers Arnett Moultrie has been suspended without pay for five games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) March 31, 2014
Arnett Moultrie, a year removed from being drafted in the first round, played 187 minutes on a team that won 19 games. Needless to say, most of Sixerville thought that would be the end of Moultrie. Despite the Sixers picking up Moultrie's $1.1 million option last October, we've seen the Sixers eat more money than that before. $1.1 million is like a month of allowance money for Josh Harris's kids.
The next time we were going to hear from Arnett Moultrie was going to be as part of Dave Rueter's 2034 series "Remember That Guy: Before The Rings" where he highlighted laughable Sixers before their historic run of seven consecutive championships. (Personally, I'm most excited for the Earl Clark edition.)
So, you can imagine my surprise when I logged on to the old Twitter machine last week and saw this particular item.
Brett Brown says that Arnett Moultrie has had a hell of a summer. Says that he has gotten in better shape over the summer.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) September 25, 2014
Well, that I did not see coming. Our friend Tom Moore has more on the Round Mound of Sitting Around.
Heading into what could be the final year of his contract with the 76ers, Moultrie says he’s "definitely learned from" his prior difficulties.
"What’s in the past is in the past," he said during training camp at Richard Stockton College.
While there had been concerns about his commitment, he insists he’s "definitely all-in now."
Asked what changed, Moultrie replied, "Sitting on that bench. That makes a big difference."
The crazy thing is that this last-ditch effort by Moultrie to get in shape and kiss Brett Brown's ring might actually work. Taking a look at the Sixers roster as currently constructed, one thing they really are lacking in the short-term is big man depth. With both Nerlens Noel and Henry Sims projected to start to help Noel prepare for playing with Joel Embiid, the only other players currently on the Sixers roster who could reasonably play at center are Moultrie and Jarvis Varnado, and you'd have to imagine the Sixers would carry a fourth big man.
This could really happen. We could actually have another year of Arnett Moultrie. Fat jokes. Weed jokes. Doug Collins jokes. They're all back in!
As far as I'm concerned, this is a real win-win for Sixers fans. Best case, Moultrie's actually in shape, strings together a respectable first half, and Sam Hinkie pawns him off on some team desperate for a bench big man in February in one of his 23 deadline trades for 2nd round picks. (This is such a best case that it's bordering on pipe dream.)
Worst case, Moultrie continues to be the same frustrating player he's been for the duration of his Sixers tenure, and he gives Sixers fan a target for their general ire. Toss in a couple fun quotes, maybe another visit to the Sevens, and he'll be gone by the time the 10-day parade starts.
There's also a middle case where Hinkie claims some undrafted center from Conference USA off waivers before this article even publishes and everything you've just read is irrelevant. 26 days, y'all!