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Penn student holds up “Fire Doc Rivers” sign during graduation walk, might be the most Sixers Sixers fan ever

May 17, 2022

Last Thursday, the Philadelphia 76ers’ rollercoaster season, which began with the Ben Simmons saga and ended with Joel Embiid’s MVP snub, concluded with a 99-90 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The loss, the Sixers’ fourth conference semis exit in the past five years, raised very real questions about how much longer the process can be trusted and warmed the seats beneath several big-salary butts. One such derriere was that of head coach Doc Rivers, who faced renewed criticism about not being able to close the deal in big deal-closing moments after the Sixers’ latest capitulation.

The biggest condemnation of Rivers, however, didn’t come from front office or ESPN talking heads or even the Philadelphia media, but instead from a University of Pennsylvania graduate by the name of Leo Chen, who used his graduation walk this weekend to call for Rivers’ head on a hors d'oeuvre platter. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Philly.

Imagine graduating from one of the most prestigious Ivy League schools in America. Your family and friends have flown into a stuffy gymnasium from halfway around the world. It is the crowning achievement of your young life and your first instinct is to use it not for your own glory, but the betterment of your team. That, folks, is true fandom. That is selflessness in the face of selfishness. That is Philadelphia.

Whether Chen’s call to arms is heeded by Sixers ownership, however, remains to be seen. Their championship window is narrowing by the second. If there were ever a time for decisive action, this is probably it. But are the Sixers going to find a better coach than Rivers? Are the problems more systemic than Xs and Os? Is Embiid a leader? Is Harden washed? Is there an ancient, primordial curse upon the franchise? Big questions, and one day soon, when Chen is running the franchise, he’ll be able to answer them. Until then, he might have to stick to graduations. Better get those law school applications in soon, kid.