Andrew Unterberger is a famous writer who invented the nickname 'Sauce Castillo' and is now writing for The Rights To Ricky Sanchez, as part of the 'If Not, Pick Will Convey As Two Second-Rounders' section of the site. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AUGetoffmygold and can also read him at Billboard.
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Inaugural Hall of Fame classes are intense. Cy Young, Nap Lajoie, and Tris Speaker were all eligible for the first-ever Baseball Hall of Fame class in 1936, but took until the second year to get in. Same with Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison and Marvin Gaye and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. When you’re trying to sum up so many years’ worth of history in just a handful of inductions, some big names are bound to be left off.
The same will undoubtedly be true of the Process Hall of Fame, in which all 30 nominees across 30 categories have a decent argument at being first ballot-worthy. Only so many will get in, but which? The brightest stars? The formative influences? The critical and media favorites? Should the Hall of Fame prioritize celebrating the most prolific, the most acclaimed, or the most influential?
Unanswerable questions, truly. This ballot is only one man’s opinion, and should by no means influence your own vote. But this Hall of Fame was my idea, dammit, and it’s only fair I should get to indulge my own pontifications on this matter. Here’s how I rank the ten Sixers moments, people and RTRS moments up for the inaugural class of the Process Hall of Fame.
10. JaKarr Sampson
[/Bill Simmons Voice] Are we sure JaKarr Sampson is good?
9. Chu Chu Maduabum
A True Process Truster, but he’s been coasting off his early accomplishments for a while now. You don’t want to end up the mop-up middle-reliever who shows up at the ten year reunion of the championship team talking the loudest about What We Accomplished.
8. Ish Smith
The fables of just how much Ish Smith helped the Process-era Sixers will undoubtedly (and rightly) multiply over the years to him averaging 25 and 12 and leading the 0-win Sixers on a ten-game winning streak right away. He’s earned his lore, but the stink of the ‘15-’16 Sixers in general is pretty hard to body-wash over.
7. Hollis Thompson
The Sixers could be in the midst of their third consecutive title defense in 2022-’23, and Friend of the Ricky Jason Lipshutz and I would be guaranteed to have at least one “You know who the Sixers could actually really use right now?” conversation about Ol’ Two Out of Every Five at some point in the season. Still, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t already started forgetting his name in certain Sixers-related Sporcles.
6. Dario Saric
He’ll get in eventually. For now just Coming Over is Hall of Fame enough.
5. Brett Brown
Again, more a matter of when than if. But if we know one thing about our longtime coach, it’s that he doesn’t let taking an L or two get him easily frustrated while building towards something.
4. Robert Covington
Soon enough: Cov is unquestionably an RTRS Icon, as well as the guy who non-Process-minded basketball nerds are most likely to roll their eyes at when cackling about Sixers fan ridiculousness. Really, if we ever needed to retire “Are you down with TTP?” -- lol never -- we could pretty easily replace it with “Are you down with ROC”? (Side question: Does anyone know what Robert Covington’s middle name is? Neither his Wiki or B-R page have it and now I must know.)
3. T.J. McConnell
The Process Truster Who Could, and the ultimate folk hero of this era of Philly basketball. At this point next year, we’re equally likely to be talking about him as a Sixers playoff savior and as a third-stringer currently weighing one-year rental offers from the Nuggets and Bulls (or both!), and that’s pretty goddamn Process. Also, for a long time his now-former Twitter handle @ipass4zona was maybe the only one on the Internet worse than my own.
2. Tony Wroten
He coined the phrase “Trust the Process,” and for that alone he demands first-ballot inclusion. But let’s not forget Tony Wroten’s many other career Process accomplishments: Notching a triple-double in his first career start, playing like an All-Star for the first week of the 2014-’15 season, hitting a couple random half-court shots, missing two dunks in one half, posterizing MKG, appearing on the Ricky, never playing for another pro team post-Process and still campaigning to rejoin the Sixers now that they’re actually good. (He’s welcome back anytime. He can play backup center, probably.)
1. Joel Embiid
I mean, aside from all the other stuff, his nickname is The Process. If Nap Lajoie’s nickname was “The Baseball,” you can bet he would’ve gotten into Cooperstown on his first try too.
10. Embiid’s First Bucket Against OKC
Don’t have a particularly vivid memory of this one, tbh. If his first bucket had been his dunk on Russell Westbrook, though, this would likely be significantly higher on my ballot.
9. TJ McConnell Game Winner Over Melo
So many TJ McConnell game winners to choose from, how can you even keep them all straight really? Future Process historians will probably end up conflating this with his Celtics postseason heroics and the game-winner he’ll inevitably hit over the Kawhi-led Raptors next year, to the point where no one can even remember which moment he dutifully recreated during his RTRS appearance.
8. Sixers Almost Beat the Warriors (Canaan 4 Point Play)
Really, the fact that this is a nominee and that no Sixers fan who lived through it would ever question its inclusion is kind of a Sixers Moment in itself.
7. Hinkie Drives Evan Turner To The Airport
I once wrote and published a speculative script of this interaction. It was met with confusion and anger by readers of The 700 Level. I still look forward to Spike and Mike reenacting it live someday.
6. Carl Landry MVP Chants
Are we sure Carl Landry was even definitely still on the Sixers when this happened?
5. The MCW Trade
I was in the midst of a very boring work meeting when news of this dropped, and I was forced to ask a question I had no interest in learning the answer to just to prove I had been paying attention. (I wasn’t, it didn’t.) The Process definitely cannot be officially over until all assets from this trade are totally extinguished, which of course means that The Process will never be over.
4. Sixers Win the Lottery
Some would say that this was the Sixers’ Super Bowl victory, but I prefer to think of the Eagles’ Super Bowl Victory as their winning the draft lottery.
3. The James Anderson Game
When Sixers fans complain about Robert Covington not being consistent enough, what they’re really hoping for is that RoCo can basically be the living embodiment of the James Anderson Game. Which makes sense, because the James Anderson Game was awesome.
2. The MCW Game (Miami)
The birth of Too Good. Nothing about it has ever made or will ever make sense, and nothing about it lasted -- at least not beyond the two games to follow -- but it bought the Sixers enough fanbase goodwill and patience to last them almost exactly up until Jahlil Okafor’s Boston rampage in late 2015.
1. The Picks Swapping
10. Spike Reads Apple Reviews
Never listened to this one, but comforted by knowing it’s out there.
9. Covington Gets Intro’d at Lottery Party
Emotional I’m sure, but I was in one of the restaurants where this happened and couldn’t hear much of anything anyway.
8. Brett Brown Does the Jigsaw
My capacity for second-hand anxiety is far too wide for me to derive any enjoyment from this. Objectively brilliant though.
7. TJ McConnell Double Fists Beers at Live Ricky
The fact that the audio-only version of this was evocative enough that I didn’t even feel like I missed all that much by not being there live was certainly impressive.
6. Mike Gets a Real Mic
Only No. 6 on my Hall of Fame ballot, but No. 1 on my Realizing Wow This Hall of Fame Really Was a Great Idea While Listening to the Nominations Podcast on the Subway and Repeatedly Bursting Into Laughter rankings.
5. The Paul Millsap All-Star Story
I think I fell for this twice, once originally and once on replay. This was great, #WhoIsPaulMillsap was great, beefing with the most beef-immune players in NBA history stays a consistently rewarding experience.
4. Booing Tony Snell
Speaking of. I still look forward to actually giving Malcolm Brogdon his proper hero’s welcome in Philly someday -- assuming he doesn’t spend his entire career ducking us, which I believe is a distinct possibility -- but making a one-night heel out of arguably the NBA’s most anonymous player remains one of the Ricky faithful’s all-time greatest achievements. Even Giannis loved it! How could he not?
3. Retweet Armageddon
Going biblical with it was always the only way the war of Sixers Twitter could end. Retweet Armageddon was a singular event to be experienced, and if Markelle Fultz does turn out to be a bust, the sole consolation will be how much more impossible it’ll be to explain the motivations behind and consequences of RTA to future generations of Process Trusters.
2. The Hinkie Billboard
Sixers Fans Billboarded! I still can’t quite wrap my head around this actually being a thing that happened, nor can I even begin to imagine the level of fist-clenched grumbling it must’ve caused for some of the people who had to drive by it every day. I also look forward to the question of who the silent investors were that helped facilitation of the billboard becoming Spike and Mike’s version of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” subject mystery.
1. Vlade Divac Gets Cheered At Lottery Party II
The first and truest Process Miracle. Video may technically exist of this moment, but only God and Sam Hinkie can truly comprehend what happened that night at Buffalo Wild Wings in 2015.