Everyone deserves to laugh, and the Sixers have been a source of smiles and cheer for decades on end. April Fool's Day is a day of celebration for the court jesters among us, and the Sixers have employed a number of Grade-A pranksters over the years.
Without further ado, the best April Fool's Day pranks* ever pulled off by the Sixers:
"We traded Charles Barkley!"
The Sixers fooled everyone into thinking they'd traded a six-time All-Star and future MVP for a Pu pu platter of players, with the best returning player (Jeff Hornacek) openly upset about having to play for Philadelphia. What a gas this one was! Hard to believe the Sixers thought fans would bite on this ruse. At least they didn't make us sit through a season coached by Doug Moe afterward.
"Let's give Kwame Brown lots of money!"
Talk about an all-timer. I'm supposed to believe that Doug Collins -- who has been run out of town by every team he has ever coached -- was not only given authoritarian control in the front office, but that he was crazy enough to want Kwame Brown on a four-year, $20 million contract? Preposterous!
What this joke lacked in realism, it certainly made up for in ambition. Go big or go home, that's what I always say.
"Rebuild post-Iverson? Nah."
Allen Iverson's tenure in Philadelphia was marred by issues on the court and off. By the time Philadelphia made their real push to trade him in late 2006, it was time to move on from The Answer's era and strip this thing down. At 5-18 through December 16, the Sixers were in prime position to turn the team over to young guys and have a chance in the Greg Oden / Kevin Durant sweepstakes.
Plot twist! The Sixers fooled everyone by acting as though acquiring Andre Miller, Joe Smith and a couple late firsts was the best long-term move for the team. Under the feisty jokesmanship of Andre Miller, the Sixers chuckled their way to a 35-47 record, sliding down from the Durant tier in order to select Thaddeus Young to an uproar of laughter. A real knee-slapper.
"How 'bout we just keep drafting more bigs?"
What's that old LeBron James bit?...
Oh, right! Classic LeBron.
Anyway, the Sixers haven't had much to speak of in the frontcourt department since Mount Mutombo's peak, and Sam Hinkie thought he'd change that.
Take a look at his big -- heh, get it -- acquisitions in his first few drafts at the helm:
- 2013 Draft: Trade for a center!
- 2014 Draft: Draft a center at No. 3!
- 2015 Draft: Draft a center at No. 3!
"This guy is better, but we promised somebody else."
What does a world-class comedian do if two Hall-of-Fame talents are on the board when you're up to select in the NBA Draft? Take somebody else!
Forget taking a player of Paul Pierce or Dirk Nowitzki's caliber when you can promise a teenager you'll take him with your pick. Nothing screams, "April Fools!" like passing on the No. 2 player on your board to uphold the honor of your carpetbagging, future-disregarding coach!
"Who needs Moses? We can find new stone tablets."
Trading away an MVP big who anchored a title team is the Sixers version of Wiley Coyote blowing himself up -- a tried-and-true classic that wins the fans over every time. First pulled off when they dealt Wilt Chamberlain to the Lakers in 1968, the Sixers paid homage to the franchise's comedic legacy in '86, dealing Moses Malone to Washington on the heels of his ninth-straight selection as an All-Star.
Even better was the punchline -- the players coming back in the deal were both out of the league (temporarily) by 1989, coinciding with Malone's 12th All-Star berth in a row. Having collaborators to workshop comedy with will improve your craft almost every time.
*Sadly, none of these moves were pranks. "Happy" April Fool's Day, everyone.