For what feels like a decade, most of us here at Liberty Ballers have insisted upon the same three words.
Trust. The. Process.
It's been revered. It's been mocked. It's been co-opted. It's never been the team's official position, but it's had more staying power than any focus-tested slogan. (This starts now!)
Tonight, the opening night of the season, under a nationally-televised spotlight, the process begins to see it's results in the player who has embraced it so hard that he's re-christened himself as the avatar of the process.
Since Day 1, the goal of recently deposed despot Sam Hinkie was a simple one - find a superstar. Find the guy that doesn't become available in a trade and only becomes an option in free agency if you've played your hand perfectly.
Joel Embiid can be that superstar. Talent-wise, you won't find many people that question that. The question mark is obviously his long term health, but that's a question for another day.
Today, 28 months to the day since the night he was drafted and satellite delays gave Sixers fans a 30-second heart attack, Joel Embiid will play in his first National Basketball Association game.
Much like many of the games over the last few years, tonight's result is irrelevant to me. The Sixers will likely lose. Russell Westbrook will probably score 60 points on 50 shots in his new role as Oklahoma City's top dog. The Thunder, even in their post-Durant weakened state, are still well ahead of where the Sixers are.
Tonight is a celebration for Sixers fans. It's a celebration for those who sat through the random 30-point losses. It's a celebration for those who had every conversation with a friend, relative, or stranger who had totally checked out on the Sixers who thought you were the crazy one for sticking around. It's the celebration for the people who suffered through the endless Twitter wars with those arguing that the Sixers would have been better off long-term picking Aaron Gordon and Doug McDermott.
There's still more to come. Sometime, Ben Simmons will play in his first NBA game. The Sixers will likely have another high lottery pick this season. The Lakers pick will eventually convey, likely bringing another lottery talent to Philadelphia.
But that's down the road.
Tonight, Joel Embiid plays in an NBA game. Tonight, Dario Saric plays in an NBA game (if he comes over, he'd leave a lot of money on the table to do so.)
Tonight is your night, Sixers fans. Regardless of the results, enjoy it. All of this was never about the results. It's all about The Process.