In a special miniseries from the 76ers Insiders podcast ahead of the 2022-23 NBA playoffs, Sixers players joined the show to help you get to know them better before the journey begins.
The in-depth interviews cover a variety of topics ranging from their own sports fandom to how they want their careers to be remembered. Listen to the full episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts for more subjects, such as dream dinner guests.
Below are some excerpts from the conversations:
Favorite gift you’ve ever given?
P.J. Tucker: “My wife’s second wedding ring. I designed it and went through this whole thing – yeah, it was a big deal. The first one was really modest because I was young. I was 23 or 24, so it was nice, but it wasn’t great. So the second one – ten years later – was a big deal in designing it and the whole process. She was almost crying when I gave it to her, after we had already been married for a long time. That was pretty cool.”
Paul Reed: “I got my mom a house. I think that’s my greatest gift so far.”
Shake Milton: “Maybe just like a little piece of art that kind of is like an inside joke, or something like that. I feel like I would say that, yeah.”
Most memorable sporting event you’ve been to as a fan?
Tyrese Maxey: “Last summer, I went to watch the first round of Serena [Williams] at the US Open. That was my first time at a tennis match ever in my life. For it to be so inspirational that I come home and I start playing tennis, and was actually sitting on my couch at 2 a.m. watching the [semifinals] – women’s and men’s – that’s like second-to-none. That’s amazing. That it can change somebody like that. I had never watched a tennis match ever in my life. I go to hers and watch one first round of the US Open, and now I’m watching tennis and going to play tennis on off days with Shake Milton and [76ers skill development coaches] Tyler Lashbrook and Spencer Rivers. That’s really cool.”
Georges Niang: “My senior year of college, I signed with an agency that was in LA and I got to go to Kobe Bryant’s last game. It was poetic. I think he shot 70 shots and every time he got the ball in the second half, it was like a pickup game. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”
De’Anthony Melton: “It would have to be one of the USC [football] games. I remember first getting there, you get to do a little tailgate and they walk you through the school. I got to do that, walk through all of the students and stuff like that. Then go onto the field and see them dudes warm up. USC it’s like – it’s pros, so you’re seeing these dudes, they’re big, they’re ready. So it definitely had to be one of those USC games. Those were fun. Got to stand in the stands with the fans and students, do the cheers, all that.”
Reed: “I went to a WWE match recently and that was kinda lit, no cap. In Philly. I think that's the most memorable so far.”
Milton: “I remember when I was little, my pops used to take us to the Texas Longhorns games. So we went to one at Oklahoma State and in the second half, Vince Young came out and ran like 80 yards for a touchdown. That was really cool.”
What is something you think is misunderstood about you by the public?
Tucker: “I think, more times than not, they almost get everything wrong about me… I think I’ve done almost too good of a job of how I present my play and what I do on a night-in, night-out basis, rather than people really seeing the way I change the way I play based on who we play and what we need to be able to win.”
Maxey: “I’m a human being, so everybody struggles. Everybody goes through their moments, whether it’s behind closed doors or on the court. But, for the most part, this is who I am. I don’t smile because it’s fake. I smile because I really enjoy being out there, competing, and playing at the highest level. That’s fun to me.”
Melton: “I’m a quiet person until I really get to meet you. And then I’ll be joking a lot. Probably on the court, people don’t see me show as much emotion. I would probably say that. But I think most of the time [off the court], I’m laughing, joking, playing around.”
Milton: “That everybody thinks I’m just so quiet. Like, yeah I’m laid back and calm, but I feel like everybody in my circle be telling me to shut up more than anything else.”
When you retire, what do you want people to say about you?
Tucker: “I want [teammates] to say that I was the hardest working, most unselfish player they ever played with.”
Maxey: “When I retire, I would hope people would say Tyrese was somebody who outworked a lot of people, who earned everything that he got – all of the accolades he got in the league. There was nothing given to him. And that he somehow got one percent better, literally, every single day and found ways to reach the maximum level of his potential.”
Niang: “I’ll be serious for one time in my life. I think just [for] people to respect the hard work that I put in every single day. I may not have been the fastest, jumped the highest, but at the end of the day I came in and gave my all. Affected the game in a positive way and affected my teammates in a positive way. I think the biggest thing for me is I like to be a team guy, get along with everybody, and make sure the vibes are always up. De’Anthony can attest to this, I probably talk too damn much, but just someone that is always trying to bring energy. Came in and did his job to the best of his ability…and a 3-point sniper.”
Melton: “Man, that he was a real one. He got it done. Nah, I’m playing. Somebody that worked. He ain’t have nothing handed to him. I had to go get everything and I did it my way. I didn’t have to change up or nothing like that. The same person from the time I got into the league until the time I leave.”
Reed: “I want people to say that he is one of the best players to ever play the game. I want people to say that he is a great human being off the court, as well as on the court. One of them dudes that just gives back to his community and really changes people’s lives.”
Danuel House Jr.: “That this guy gave us more life than you can ever imagine. That whatever you think or say about him doesn't really matter because I know the real him.”