For weeks, Philadelphia 76ers fans have been begging for an NBA-WWE crossover involving Sixers center Joel Embiid and wrestling legend, Triple H. In the past, Embiid has been vocal about his Triple H fandom.
A few years back, the big man even imitated one of Triple H's pre-match, in-ring moves by coming out of the Sixers' tunnel spitting water in the air as he was introduced before a game.
While Embiid's water spitting didn't remain a routine, he did adopt another Triple H move this season while on the court and kept it a consistent one throughout the year. Each time the big man collects an And-1 after falling to the ground, he thrusts the air and imitates a signature move by Triple H's former wrestling stable, DX.
“It’s fun," Embiid said. "I missed the crowd. I mentioned that in the past, DX is my favorite. Triple H and Shawn Michaels were my favorite wrestlers. Obviously, the group was also my favorite, and that’s what they used to do. When the refs called the And-1, it just makes sense to combine the both of them and just enjoy myself.”
Embiid started implementing the celebration back in December and continued to do it in the first round of the playoffs. After breaking it out once again in the Game 2 matchup against the Washington Wizards, Embiid caught the attention of his favorite wrestlers, which had fans urging the Sixers to get Triple H to participate in Philly's pregame ritual of ringing the bell.
Before tipping off the second-round series against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday afternoon, the Sixers made the moment happen. As the Wells Fargo Center lit up green, the words "are you ready?" blasted through the PA system sending fans into a frenzy as the DX theme music started playing.
Seconds later, Joel Embiid walked through the tunnel alongside Triple H.
The moment was electric inside the Wells Fargo Center. Perhaps, it was too electric. After such an energetic introduction to the second round of the playoffs, the Sixers looked deflated early on in the game as they trailed as much as 26 points in the first half against the Hawks.
While their second-half performance was much better, it was too little too late for the Sixers, who dropped the first game of the series. Despite losing what many considered to be the "Triple H game" in Philly, the legendary wrestler was still extremely thankful for the opportunity to perform in front of a live crowd for the first time in a while.