The latest issue of ESPN The Magazine published a feature on the Philadelphia 76ers’ shameless tanking tactics — a plan general manager Sam Hinkie put into motion (at least fully) when he assumed control in spring 2013. Before Hinkie’s arrival, the Sixers were already headed in that direction, finishing 34-48 after two straight playoff appearances under head coach Doug Collins. A key factor in the Sixers’ demise was center Andrew Bynum, who played more Pop-a-Shot during his time in Philly than actual NBA basketball.
When he wasn’t working out a new hairstyle, Bynum spent his days at team’s practice facility, rehabbing from (eventual) season-ending arthroscopic knee surgery. Thanks to that year-long rehab process, we have this delightful anecdote from Pablo Torre involving the (now-unemployed) former All-Star:
Their would-be star was a hazardous fit — sometimes even literally. One day, memorably, the rehabbing big man parked next to Aaron Barzilai, [then-Sixers general manager Tony] DiLeo’s newly hired director of basketball analytics, in the parking lot of the team facility at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. As Bynum shuffled inside, Barzilai noticed something on their would-be star’s custom black Ferrari and called after him. Bynum, it turned out, had driven away from a gas station without removing the pump’s nozzle and eight- foot rubber hose, which he’d dragged, pythonlike, through the street.
Andrew Bynum, you are missed. A lot.