The Philadelphia 76ers have had more than their fair share of weird stories surrounding the franchise over the years: Burnergate, multiple first overall picks being suddenly unable or unwilling to shoot, with one of those guys seemingly willing to toss away a year of his prime to get traded elsewhere, a star acquisition getting injured while bowling, a player nearly dying from a food allergy, fluky injuries and poorly handled medical diagnoses. That’s just off the top of my head and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few obvious things, which speaks to just how unusual things have been for the Sixers. So it takes something truly bizarre to enter the conversation of stranger things that have happened to this team, but the organization’s brief partnership with Color Star Technology certainly fits the bill.
I say brief, because as reported by Spike Eskin of the Rights to Ricky Sanchez podcast, the Sixers have terminated their relationship with Color Star due to breach of contract:
Color Star had been promoting initiatives that violated the terms of their contract with the Sixers. I have to imagine the line about hanging out with the team in the metaverse was up there.— Spike Eskin (@SpikeEskin) January 14, 2022
What a wild story. We will discuss on Sunday's pod.
Embiid for MVP.
The partnership thus lasted less than a month, as 76ers PR officially announced the deal with the “entertainment technology company with a global network that focuses on the application of tech and artificial intelligence (AI) in the entertainment industry” all the way back on December 20, 2021. A few days after that announcement, Defector published an in-depth investigation of trying to figure out who exactly Color Star is as a company.
The piece included such questions as:
- Why is a former Chinese concrete ready-mix company getting involved in the metaverse?
- Why does a technology company have websites that don’t work?
- Is CEO Sir Lucas Capetian a real person?
One of the co-authors, Chris Thompson, penned a follow-up a couple weeks later, detailing how very few updates had been made to the Color Star websites and its signature Color World app, despite Color Star marketing appearing prominently at Sixers games. The article concluded with a wonderfully memorable quote from Color Star communications director Douglas Menelly to Thompson: “Christ teaches love and forgiveness” and “...there’s “redemption even for people like you.”
Defector co-founder and lifelong Philadelphian Dan McQuade has a fun Twitter thread on the entire Color Star saga. Highlights include:
A LinkedIn profile for Lucas Capetian popping up where “Lacas” spelled his own name wrong and doubled down on having a Harvard EMBA degree that isn’t offered by the university:
Very obvious evidence that Color Star was cribbing from Live Nation’s website:
It looks like Color Star has now copied Live Nation’s website but forgot to change all the text. I must again thank the Philadelphia 76ers for partnering with this company. https://t.co/HJByyjAVHl pic.twitter.com/yCR1ah9o7O— Dan McQuade (@dhm) January 12, 2022
And a Color Star press release in Luxury Travel Magazine that would seem to indicate where the breach of contract came from:
“A recently inked deal with the Philadelphia 76ers will see the NBA team’s elite professional players enter the Color World themselves, giving fans the opportunity to interact and shoot hoops with their favorite athletes within the walls of the Color World for the first time ever, accompanied by exclusive interviews and in-depth looks into the storied NBA franchise.”
I would imagine that some easy sponsorship money from a Chinese company became less appealing for the Sixers after all this bad publicity started coming out and they were waiting for the first opportunity to wipe their hands of the whole thing. Score another victory for Sixers-adjacent internet sleuths. However, with the dissolution of this partnership, it now seems unlikely Sixers fans will see Ben Simmons on the court or in the metaverse. What a shame.