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.
Andrew's writing is brought to you by Kinetic Skateboarding! Not only the Ricky's approved skate shop, but the best place to get Chucks, Vans, any apparel. Use code "DAVESILVER" for 9.1% off your order.
Rare is the Saturday that I spend driving across state lines to attend a live event commemorating an audio-only program. But considering how much further the guest of honor had to travel -- Distance.To pegs it at 4,443.55 miles between Sibenik, Croatia and the Venue Formerly Known as the Electric Factory -- I figured I could make the trip. Hell, I even brought my parents.
Needless to say, the Rights to Ricky Sanchez Live III: Revenge of the Sharp did not disappoint. The crowd was nuts. The guests were game. The hosts were perpetually and rightfully smirking. The speeches were grand. The drinks were prohibitively expensive. (Well, not prohibitively prohibitively.) The pacing was brisk. The chants were coercive. The Processing was pure.
If you weren’t there, the audio version should get you 85% of the way there. But I traveled the length of multiple Rewatchables podcasts to get that final 15%, so here are the 12 things that most struck me while attending the most successful threequel since Lil Wayne sold a milli first week.
Thanks to the guy who shouted out “AUGETOFFMYGOLD!” and thanks to Spike for Saying the Name. (Twice!)
1. A half-hour before the event even started, I was stunned the seats on the floor were already mostly filled, like an actual goddamn live show where getting a good view was, like, important. I also appreciated that the pre-show music was Post Malone’s Beerbongs & Bentleys album. Not because it felt in any way appropriate -- I can’t imagine Spike or Mike or anyone else involved with the Ricky give a shit about young Post -- but because it felt like the sort of super-2018 thing that a music supervisor would make the soundtrack when trying to recreate the event in a RTRS biopic 20 years from now. Cool.
2. There were a lot of good Sixers shirts, jerseys and shirseys littering the floor of the Not-Electric Factory -- Jerry Stackhouse throwbacks, Croatian national Saric unis, no shortage of Hollis Thompsons. But the one that made me happiest had to be the Wroten #8 I saw sported by a kid who couldn’t be more than five years old, meaning he very likely wasn’t even born for some or all of the Process Great’s short-lived Sixers tenure. Reminded me of that Norman Pheeny: Pepsi Drinker for Life commercial.
3. I was geeking out with my parents beforehand trying to spot the Ricky sponsors in the VIP section. “Look, there’s LL! And I think that might be Kornblau and/or Kornblau sitting next to him… and maybe Kinetic a row in front?” Next live pod, there needs to be an official red carpet for the local RTRS celebs to walk, with coverage hosted of course by Molly Sullivan. (Then Molly can walk it herself as well.)
4. The most underrated part of Live Ricky III was unquestionably the two dudes lying on the Big Barker Dog Beds for the entire show. If things ever got less than hilarious on stage with Mike and Spike my eyes would just drift to the side and I would start cracking up at the two dudes still just being there, getting those joints healed. Shouts to the one guy who let me touch his bed while we were both walking out of the NEF, too. Felt Therapeutic.
5. Boy, the “FULTZ!” chants are great. Only in Philadelphia could we immediately agree on a one-word chant to show unanimous, unequivocal support for our basketball team’s most media-besieged player, and have it also double as a sub-chant to permanently needle the city our football team ramrodded through in the NFC Championship.
6. It wouldn’t be a Ricky event without at least a little teetering on the edge of Legit Too Far, and the chills I got listening to the echoing sounds of 1000-plus mostly white, mostly drunk cult members (including myself) shouting “YOU ARE BANNED!” definitely started pushing the needle into the red. Ultimately, a necessary reminder that if we ever stop being right about everything, we could end up finding ourselves in real trouble.
7. The most burning question of the night which I never actually want answered: How would Andrew Sharp explain his presence at these events to a non-plugged-in co-worker?
“Yeah, I’m heading up to Philly for the weekend… gotta go be part of a live podcast event… sure, live podcast events are a thing… no, it’s not my podcast, it’s my old roommate’s podcast… nah I’m not really a special guest, more like a villain… yeah, I’ll walk across stage for like ten seconds and I’ll get booed a bunch and that’s basically it… no, I don’t really hate the Sixers, I just wrote something kinda negative about their old GM five years ago… yeah, no, it’s a Celtics-themed shirt, the Wizards and the Sixers don’t really have any history together… well, yeah it’s weird, but you should see the shirts they’re wearing…”
Somehow, Andrew Sharp is the truest Process devotee of us all.
8. I must say, as dumb as it remains to have an inaugural Process Hall of Fame class of only three members, the fact that the speeches and the entire ceremony took…. not hours and hours? Was kind of nice. Maybe there’s a compromise to be reached here after all.
9. If there was one part during the Actual Sixer Interviews that actually made me note “Hmm I wonder if I’ll end up calling back to this moment at some point of consequence during the regular season?” it was definitely Dario admitting that he was emphatically not OK with coming off the bench this year. Fair enough -- guy’s proven he’s a worthy starter -- but if Markelle makes a push for the starting lineup, fact remains that The Homie remains the likely odd man out from that first five. Just a situation to monitor as the Sixers carefully tread further into unchartered Too Good territory.
10. My parents are largely Process-conversant already, so I only had to really explain two things to them after the evening was over: Dave Silver and Yeah You Know Lickface. And lemme tell you: You may think you have a grasp on how dumb and ridiculous Yeah You Know Lickface is, until you realize that to properly explain it to your parents, you not only have to remind them who Henry Sims is, try to remember the inspiration behind the “Lickface” moniker, and explain why we all thought it necessary to come up with a secret password call-and-response to weed out any Process-Come-Latelies -- you also have to provide appropriate context for the chorus to Naughty By Nature’s implicitly filthy 1991 rap hit. Only then, friends, can you truly understand the shame that Mike has to regularly internalize, twice a week for the rest of forever.
11. I was proud of a lot of things over the course of Live Ricky III, but the thing that really made my heart swell was just the unending thought of this is something we have that no other fans of any other sports team in history have ever had. Not like we’re the first bats-in-the-belfry fans in pro sports by any stretch, but no other base’s mania has ever been this focused, this organized, this concerned with historical continuity. No other base has ever risen above the actual results of the team we’re celebrating in this way. No other base has realized so brilliantly that it’s always been just as much about us as it is about them.
And, well, no other fanbase has ever sold 1000-plus tickets to an unsanctioned, offseason, offsite rally on a Saturday night. I tweeted about this already, but I kept thinking back to that Noel Gallagher of Oasis quote of all-time hubris: “Has God played Knebworth?” The Golden State Warriors may have three championships, a starting five consisting entirely of All-Stars, and nothing but further joy and prosperity on the horizon. But they’ve never played the fucking Factory.
12. And I’m telling you now, we’re getting Joel Embiid for the next one. I’m not basing this on any kind of actual knowledge or anything that Spike or Mike have told me. As a matter of fact, I’m at least 70% sure that Spike is gonna edit this part out by the time we publish because he won’t want me committing to something that may ultimately be impossible for him to deliver.
But I don’t care -- I’m saying it right now and I’m not hedging or equivocating shit. We’re getting him. Because we have to. It’s all ramped up too perfectly to it: T.J., then RoCo, and now Dario. Each one leading inextricably to the next one, three of the Core Four of the Process. Joel’s the next guy. He has to be. It’s Process Destiny.
And then after him, there’s only one guy left. And we’re gonna get him too. And it’s gonna be perfect. It’s gonna be worth it. It’s gonna be goddamn Hall of Fame worthy. Yeah, you know Lickface.