One last dance
Preface: All photos were taken by the great Wayne Terry
First and foremost, a lot of us here at Philly Front Office are here because of Spike and Mike. They were the originators who created a platform for many of us. I’d like to start off by saying a huge THANK YOU to Spike Eskin and Mike Levin.
In a really weird way, the Rights to Ricky Sanchez group is like a family. Whether it was the national or local media telling us we were wrong, we’ve been through a lot together. The Game 7 loss still stings, but in many ways the Lottery Party was always a salute to all the losses we endured during the previous season. It was a way to celebrate the start of the offseason on a sense of hope and optimism. This is a love letter to Spike Eskin and Michael Levin.
A long time ago, some famous person said: “There was an idea. Spike knows this, called the Process Initiative. The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people, see if they could become something more. See if they could work together when we needed them to to fight the battles we never could.” Ok, wrong famous person. But you get the gist.
Back in May 2013, Sam Hinkie laid the groundwork for everything you see today. “We talk a lot about process, not outcome,” said Sam Hinkie. When Sam traded Jrue Holiday on draft night, the word “rebuild” wasn’t good enough. It was clear this was going to be a different kind of tank. It was an aggressive tank.
The Sixers were inept from top to bottom. The Andrew Bynum fiasco left the Sixers gathering up the crumbs on the street. Doug Collins resigned. The locker room was toxic. Zero cap space. No draft picks. Significant changes had to be made, but with Sam Hinkie the plan was formed: Get a superstar. Whatever it takes.
It was that fateful night in 2015 when Tony Wroten spoke of “Trust the Process” during an interview with ESPN’s Pablo Torre. It’s a crazy feeling when going back to old Rights to Ricky Sanchez podcasts. As many of you know, I’ve been a huge fan of the Rights to Ricky Sanchez podcast since the beginning.
From Miller’s Philly Ale House to Buffalo Wild Wings to Xfinity Live, the Liberty Ballers/Rights to Ricky Sanchez Lottery Parties were the place to be for hardcore Sixers faithful. Getting photos with Spike Eskin’s gorgeous pup Rebel year after year has become awkwardly hilarious. Hugging random strangers at Xfinity Live when the Sixers got the #1 pick in 2016 continues to be one of the greatest nights of my life as a Sixers fan.
As the 2019 season has ended and with TJ McConnell being a free agent this summer, it is sad thinking back to the fun times when TJ McConnell was seen double fisting beers at the Live Ricky in October 2017. And yes, there was a slap the floor competition at that same event that continues to make me laugh to this day. Cheering loudly when TJ McConnell admitted that he refuses to play in Cleveland was a moment I’ll surely never forget.
The “Trust the Process” group reached an all time high in awkwardness when singer Felicia Ricci sung an incredible rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” titled “Imagine the Process.” While singing, photos of our favorite Process players were shown. Believe me, it was much more fun than it sounds. It only made sense that Spike and Mike opened up their event with the song. Talk about bittersweet.
Tonight was the Final Lottery Party at Xfinity Live. Here were my highlights.
Before the event started, members of the Paul Green Rock Academy were jamming out in front of Xfinity Live.
Spike Eskin’s dog Rebel took photos with the Ricky faithful beforehand
I almost brought this dog home, true story
Enjoying the festivities before the event started.
As Run the Jewels began, it was bittersweet realizing that this was the last time we’d be together while watching Mark Tatum reveal the lottery winners.
One of the highlights of the night was listening to Michael Levin and Chu Chu Maduabum discuss a potential threesome between Drew Gordon and Levin’s girlfriend. I’m still laughing (“SHE SAID NO!”).
Thanks again to the Rights to Ricky Sanchez crew. I’ll never forget all the great times at all the Lottery Parties, but I’m already counting down the hours til the next Live Ricky. Trust the Process, baby!