Philadelphia sports teams are having a bit of a moment right now. The Philadelphia Eagles are 5-0 and looking to return to the Super Bowl. The Philadelphia Flyers may be a Stanley Cup longshot but optimism abounds and they won their season-opener last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the same night as the Philadelphia Phillies eliminated the rival Atlanta Braves and punched their ticket to the NLCS.
The Philadelphia 76ers though, are kind of in a different place. A quiet offseason saw them clearly leapfrogged by the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics on the least of Eastern Conference contenders. Meanwhile, they've been navigating a trade request from James Harden and the somewhat ugly fallout that appears likely to drag into the regular season when it begins later this month.
Things don't feel quite as bright in the 76ers' world, which is why it was probably reassuring to their fans to see that Joel Embiid was in the ballpark last night as the Phillies beat the Braves.
Joel Embiid showed his commitment to Philadelphia last night
The obvious upshot of all the chaos embroiling the 76ers is that it could lead to Embiid's departure. He is under contract for two more years with a player option for the season after that, but contractual obligations haven't stopped numerous other stars from requesting trades over the past few years.
If the 76ers end up trading Harden for pennies on the dollar (which seems almost certain at this point), it puts them in a disadvantageous position against a much improved Eastern Conference. Another failed playoff run and a roster lacking flexibility and upside could have Embiid looking for a way out.
That's why it probably meant a lot to see Embiid at the Phillies game, rocking a Bryce Harper jersey no less. Any reassurance that he loves this city and it's sports fans is a positive sign that he'll be with the 76ers for the long haul.