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Matisse Thybulle and the Art of Becoming a Viral Sensation

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Times are changing

2020 NBA Restart - All Access Practice Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Who would have thought in mid-July we’d all be getting ready to talk ourselves into the Sixers being a playoff threat once again? I mean, we knew this day would come, but it was expected to come months ago. Sadly, the coronavirus had other plans. As things stand, the NBA is gearing up for a 22-team restart inside the Disney World bubble; the Sixers are one of the teams primed to make their way into the playoffs after the eight seeding games to conclude the regular season.

This year has felt like a drag for the team. A large chunk of the roster consisted of new acquisitions that had never played together before. With the pressure put on the team to take another step forward in the playoffs this year, they were expected to hit the ground running, which never happened. Up until the suspension of the season in March, it still felt like the Sixers didn't know how to play together. Those concerns haven’t just magically disappeared. Even when they win games, it still feels just a bit off. The team didn’t look like they were having fun and had no personality, that is, until the season was put on hold.

In an unprecedented time, the Sixers were able to re-energize and show off their personalities while not having to pour all of their energy into basketball. Many of them gave back to the community, we got tons of great quotes from online press conferences, and some players even got into the mix on social media more than ever before. Leading the charge towards having fun again? That would be none other than our smiley rookie Matisse Thybulle.

The rookie out of Washington has been a consistent contributor on the court all season, constantly playing tough defense and hitting a solid 35 percent from 3-point range in his first taste of professional basketball. But Thybulle is much more than just his numbers on the court. He has proven to be one of the most infectious personalities on the entire Sixers roster. As is customary with any rookie, Thybulle is tasked with buying the meals for a team plane ride; his trip to Popeyes gave us the first look at just how funny he can be.

It doesn't just end there though. During quarantine, Thybulle created his own TikTok account and started making short videos that gave fans a look at what he was doing with his time off. Those videos did not disappoint.

@itsmatisse

Me And My Friend Made A Dance Video #quarantinelife

♬ original sound - itsmatisse

What started with a few funny videos on social media became a vlog series for his brand-new YouTube channel. Fans and media alike can’t get enough. Now in the NBA bubble, he is providing a look inside at what the players are really doing, something that was largely a mystery until Thybulle started creating these vlogs. Each of his three videos are closing in on one million views in just under a week. It’s not hard to see why; they make the fans feel like they are along on the ride of this turbulent restart. Giant publications like the New York Times have taken an interest in Thybulle’s videos, showing this is much more than just fans wanting more NBA content; there are others who might not even watch the sport who are now interested.

What Matisse Thybulle is doing right now has never been done before at this level. Whether or not this was the plan, this could be the start of something much bigger for future players in the league. They no longer have to just stick to playing the game; they can become social media personalities. With social media more accessible than ever, players can now connect with fans on an even deeper level. Thybulle is one of the players that started the movement. Don't be surprised if it picks up steam quickly.