In my mind, hip-hop and basketball pair together like fine wine and a classical piano. The two can be enjoyed separately, of course, but when combined the experience is better than a sum of its parts.
Over the weekend, former-Sixers minority owner Michael Rubin hosted a Hampton house party that combined hip-hop and basketball to the fullest. Rocking all-white clothes as an homage to P-Diddy’s infamous all-white parties from the 90’s and 00’s, artists like Drake, Travis Scott, and Lil Baby performed for a lively crowd filled with NBA superstars and other rappers.
Despite all the glitz and glam in the building, the footage from last night that has been making its way around the Internet was Meek Mill’s performance alongside Joel Embiid, James Harden, and the Sixers’ newest acquisition PJ Tucker. Needless to say, Philly hip-hop and hoop were represented heavily in the Hamptons, even as a lurking Tyrese Maxey watched from the crowd as his teammates shared the limelight.
It was understood that James Harden and Sixers brass were meeting in the Hamptons to renegotiate the All-Star guard’s hefty contract to better build the team’s roster and win a championship. Although there haven't been any reports confirming how negotiations were going, I think Sixers fans can breathe a sigh of relief and trust that The Beard is staying in Philadelphia.
Another thing Sixers fans should be excited about is the seemingly instant chemistry between P.J. Tucker and his new teammates. It’s no secret that James and P.J. were close in Houston when they played together, so it wasn’t that shocking to watch them vibe together the whole night, practically joined at the hip. However, Joel’s respect for P.J. is something to pay attention to. Following their second-round exit to the Miami Heat in the playoffs, Embiid mentioned P.J. by name and referenced him as the type of player the team needs.
Now, not even a week after the veteran free agent agreed to terms with the team, the three of them are partying together like they’ve been friends for years. Before people start commenting things like, “They shouldn’t be out partying after getting bounced early in the playoffs! They should be in the lab grinding!” it needs to be understood that guys who like each other tend to play better together.
To me, the partying footage from last night is a step in the right direction toward building a cohesive, focused brotherhood that will compete with anyone on the basketball court. It’s these little moments that compound on top of each other in one’s memory and bond people closer together.
So as far as I'm concerned, the more time the team spends off the court the harder they’re going to want to fight for each other during the season.