As we look toward Fly The Process IV: Process Reunion in Minnesota, Spike took a look back at the first three years of the event.
Every time we do something new with the Rights To Ricky Sanchez community, it’s under the guise of “I wonder if people will do this?”
“I wonder if everyone will get together at a bar to watch the NBA Lottery…”
“I wonder if people will get married at that party…”
“I wonder if people will wear a t-shirt of my dog wearing a collared shirt…”
“I wonder if people will spend most of an afternoon retweeting things that they didn’t agree with from years prior…”
Ok, if we’re being honest, I didn’t have to wonder too much with that last one.
For the first Bus The Process in 2016, it was “I wonder if people will go on a bus trip to see the worst team in the NBA play one of the other worst teams in the NBA on a weekday…”
My question was answered very clearly when I arrived at the Jetro parking lot on the afternoon of March 15th, 2016, and there were a few groups of people already tailgating before the trip. The very first Bus The Process featured two buses of weirdos heading to Brookyln in Nerlens Noel t-shirts, not totally sure how we should be acting, or what we were really doing.
Of course, the Sixers got their asses kicked. This was our first lesson in “they’re always going to lose” on the road trips. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 44 points… in one game! Convincing me to this day that he could be a borderline All-Star if he was in the right situation.
But as has been a signature of The Process Era, getting our asses kicked doesn’t seem to phase us. We were so insufferable that we made national news in several places because of the chanting we did.
Then afterward, we waited patiently for our on-court picture, which would become another signature of the trips. When I say “patiently,” I mean “everyone screaming their heads off any time anyone associated with the Sixers,” walked by, and lots of “let’s go Sixers” chants as well. You wouldn’t believe how loud 125 people can be in an empty Barclays Center. We were so loud, the ticket salesman who sold us the package asked if we could please quiet down.
Then, Brett Brown stopped by.
I don’t remember much of what he said, I just remember the group chanting “four more years!” at him repeatedly.
I don’t have proof of what happened next, but it did happen. I’m sure someone, likely former PR guy Mike Preston told Sam Hinkie he should come out and acknowledge us. Hinkie wandered across the court, shot us a small nod and a waive, and walked off into the distance.
It really makes me think, because I legitimately don’t know, what Sam Hinkie thinks of all of this. Weirded out? Likely. Appreciative? Probably. Confused by every bit of it? Definitely.
Little did we know (and he probably did know), that Hinkie’s reign as our king would end just a month later.
Like the Lottery Party, the second year had to be turned up a notch, and turned up a notch it was, as Bus The Process II would take several buses this time to Washington DC, with the theme of “F**K ANDREW SHARP,” and the t-shirt to go along with it.
The group was about 500 people (I think about 350 people came in buses, the rest met us there), and Brett Brown again decided to acknowledge the group, paying for a bunch of drinks for the group at Xfinity Live.
The group was so big that Penn Social in DC, the location of our pre-game party, didn’t know what to do with all of us. We crowded the bottom bar, and took turns taking pictures with Andrew Sharp, who actually decide to show his stupid face and take pictures with a group of people who despise him.
One of my favorite things about the trip to Washington DC is when Joe from Phans Of Philly, who runs our trips and is also my brother-in-law, called me annoyed and disappointed that the Wizards had finally realized that one of their group sales people sold tickets to 500 Sixers fans and had begun to regret it. We are a well behaved group, probably the most well behaved group of sports fans I’ve ever seen in my life.
First, they told us we couldn’t wear our Andrew Sharp shirts, because they contained profanity. “They say fork Andrew Sharp,” I told the Wizards executives I spoke to on the phone to try and smooth it over. They weren’t buying it. Then they told us, and this was the best part, that no one would be able to wear their Sixers gear for the on-court picture.
I told them what I end up telling everyone, that if you just let us do our thing, everyone will have a good time. There will be some story about the silly thing we just did, everyone will roll their eyes at us, and the team will sell 500 tickets. But if you tell us we can’t wear Sixers stuff, and we have to make an issue out of it, things won’t go so quietly.
I heard later that Ted Leonsis threw a fit when he heard how loud we were. I guess we won’t be going back to Washington DC.
Of course, the Sixers got smoked again, 109-93, and Joel Embiid didn’t play because it was on the second night of a back to back (remember those days). It didn’t stop us from chanting “MVP!” at Jahlil Okafor, and “first round knockout” at a Wizards fan who was rightly talking trash deep into the second half.
Even though Embiid wasn’t playing, he was with the team, and decided to stick around after the game to take a photo with the group (thanks again to Preston). He seemed confused by the entire thing, which isn’t surprising. There were Sam Hinkie signs, Wizards employees who looked like they were being held hostage, and so many people. The photo was epic, and Embiid posted it.
For the third year, we needed to step it up a notch. Even though “Fly The Process” doesn’t have the same ring to it, if we decided to leave the northeast, we would have so many choices. We’ve never totally abandoned the Bus The Process name, even though we fly now.
We needed an angle, a way we could be even more petty than we’ve been before. We found it. Brogdon.
Bus The Process III: Operation Shithole, would take us to Milwaukee to get revenge on Malcolm Brogdon, who won the Rookie Of The Year award when Embiid should have. The name came from a Joel Embiid Instagram post, in which he tagged the location as “Shithole” for a game in Milwaukee. Milwaukee is actually a really nice town, and unlike the Wizards, the staff of the Bucks was all super nice and accommodating. They got the joke. Thank you, Bucks.
The mission was to get Justice For Joel, so the t-shirts were a take on Metallica’s …And Justice For All album cover.
The pregame party certainly hit a new level as well.
It was a national TV game, and even though Doris Burke refused to say the name, it was pretty easy to hear us. So loud that Scott O’Neil heard us and bought the entire group beer and pretzels. It took a really long time to get that beer and those pretzels but I don’t think orders for 500 beers and pretzels hit many concession stands.
Even though the Sixers got out to a huge lead, they got outscored 33-14 in the third quarter, and ultimately, of course, lost. Also, Malcolm Brogdon was injured, so we couldn’t boo him. We booed Tony Snell instead, because it felt the most ridiculous.
Still, we made it down to the court for our on-court picture. The process (LOL!) of getting that many people in a single file line down to the court is hilariously time consuming. There’s always a moment when you wonder whether it’s worth it. There are always people who decide it’s not, then see the photo with Brett Brown or Embiid or whoever and regret it.
Embiid seemed less confused and more amused this time.
So that brings us to this season; Process Reunion. The trip we initially announced was to Atlanta in March to see if we could find Paul Millsap as we’ve heard a lot about him, but still do not know he is.
But then the trade happened. We got the third star, Jimmy Butler. But we gave up two of our own, half of the Process Core Four of Embiid, McConnell, Covington and Saric. Dario and Rock are not on the Sixers anymore, but are forever in our hearts.
The goal will be to show Dario and Roco that we’ll always appreciate them. To maybe find a way to get those four guys together in a photo. And as always, to be super weird; instead of booing an opposing team’s player, to weird out their fans by cheering for two of their players louder than they do.