It’s really not a Sixers season until a player’s parent draws public attention for actions detrimental to team chemistry or public comments critical of the team.
At the beginning of last season, Mike Muscala’s father, prompted by an Action Network article ranking the NBA’s greatest practice ‘dust-ups’ with a cover image including Jimmy Butler, put out the grossly racial tweet, “Butler behavior not a ‘dust-up’. This is egomaniacal, African American mental illness.”
Jahlil Okafor’s father, Chukwudi Okafor, made headlines on more than one occasion throughout Jah’s Sixers tenure. There was the #FreeJah movement of course, which motivated Chukwudi to wear a t-shirt to a Sixers game that had “Free Jah” printed on the back. The game was against the Warriors, they defeated the Sixers, and after the game Okafor’s father snapped a picture with Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Draymond Green endorsing the message. And let’s not forget Chukwudi’s twitter feud with former Liberty Baller Shamus Clancy:
(Chuk tried to explain the situation away, hilariously tweeting “I was hacked ????????” before deleting both tweets.)
Who could forget Kendall Marshall’s father Dennis implying that Brett Brown was a racist because Nik Stauskas was getting run while Marshall was getting DNP-CDs? How about K.J. McDaniel’s mom, who would go to Sixers games and actually boo Sixers players and demand they pass the ball to K.J.? Or Candace Buckner’s profile on Markelle Fultz in which a source revealed to Buckner that Ebony Fultz, Markelle’s mother, had surveillance cameras installed in Markelle’s house?
Fultz is now a professional on a four-year contract worth $33 million, but close associates said Ebony still goes to great lengths to shield him. During Fultz’s first season in Philadelphia, Ebony had cameras installed inside his New Jersey home, according to several people familiar with the setup who described the indoor surveillance as unusual. The cameras have since been removed. Multiple people said Ebony has asked some who have dealt with Fultz to sign nondisclosure agreements for reasons that are unclear to them.
‘There’s definitely crazy [expletive] going on with the mom and how involved she is and how overprotective she is,’ said a person with a close connection to Fultz. ‘The best possible situation is if the mom just backs off for a period of time and gives him a chance to breathe.’
Like so many Sixers parents that have come before him, Alfonso “Benji” Burke, Philadelphia 76er Trey Burke’s father, is not happy with the Sixers game planning. He took to Instagram to comment, “Man get my dude off this team. Killing him. They will not get out of the East without bench scoring. Free TB23 please”. So here we have Benji advocating for a severing of ties between the Sixers and Burke and predicting that the Sixers will not meet their goal of an NBA Finals appearance because Trey isn’t getting enough opportunities to give the team what they need.
Trey Burke’s dad wants him out of Philly and Kyle O’Quinn liked it pic.twitter.com/qbo8c36gBB— kev (@kevtaddei) December 16, 2019
To make the optics on this even worse, Kyle O’Quinn liked the Instagram post referenced in the tweet above that highlighted Benji’s comments.
I’d like to see Burke get more run in certain matchups and I know many Sixers fans share the same sentiment. And no one who has the competitive drive to make it to the NBA wants to ride the bench. Unfortunately for Trey though, he signed a veteran minimum contract to play with a contender whose roster construction essentially makes Burke the third option at point guard, fourth if you want to count Josh Richardson. Unless he wants to go play for a lottery team, this current role is just about what he can expect anywhere he goes.
To be fair to Trey, he should not be held accountable for his father’s actions. And the content of Benji’s comments weren’t too harsh (in fact, I think we’d all be more comfortable if the Sixers could securely rely on bench production). They were just an opinion, it’s not as if he did something like, I don’t know, reveal medical records of a player. I doubt the team/front office have much of a reaction to this. At the end of the day, the incident occured after a frustrating loss in which Burke played just 6 minutes (and truthfully should have played much more in a game in which the team clearly was unprepared to play).
It is worth nothing though that with December 15th having come and gone, players who signed a contract over the past summer, such as Burke, can now be traded. It will be interesting to see if Burke’s name pops up at all in trade rumors.