Joel Embiid and the Promising Future of the 76ers

Joel Embiid pic

Joel Embiid
Image: nba.com

Jonathan Z. Maltzman has been the rabbi and spiritual leader for the Maryland-based congregation Kol Shalom since 2002. Before being elected to the position, Jonathan Z. Maltzman served as a rabbi in Iowa and Japan, and as a chaplain in the United States Naval Reserve. When he isn’t busy leading services or conducting life cycle events, he enjoys following professional sports teams in his hometown of Philadelphia, especially the NBA’s 76ers.

After winning just 47 games over the three previous seasons, the 76ers appear to be on an upward trajectory thanks to some patience and extremely talented young players, including Joel Embiid. The Cameroon native was selected third overall by Philadelphia in the 2014 NBA Draft but missed his first two seasons due to a pair of foot injuries. The wait has been worthwhile, however, as Embiid has reinvigorated the Philadelphia fan base with his play in 2016-2017.

The big man has led the team in scoring throughout the season and has also been a popular player off the court. He was his own biggest supporter in NBA fan voting for the All-Star Game through a series of campaign tweets, and although he wasn’t selected for the Eastern Conference, he recently earned praise from Rolling Stone as an NBA player who is fun to follow on Twitter. He was, however, selected to represent the World team in the Rising Stars Challenge.

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The Broad Street Bullies Era of the Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers pic

Philadelphia Flyers
Image: nhl.com

As the first elected rabbi of Kol Shalom in Rockville, Maryland, Jonathan Z. Maltzman has grown the congregation from 15 families to 270 families since 2002. When he’s not busy leading services or performing other leadership duties, Jonathan Z. Maltzman enjoys following professional sports teams from his hometown of Philadelphia.

While the city’s baseball, basketball, and football teams have all won championships, the only Philadelphia sports team to win back-to-back championships in the modern era are the Flyers, the hockey team referred to as the Broad Street Bullies during its dominant run in the 1970s. Just seven years after joining the National Hockey League (NHL) in 1967, the Flyers won their first of back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 with a cast of colorful players that included Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, Bob “Hound Dog” Kelly, and Andre “Moose” Dupont. In the team’s first Stanley Cup-winning season, the trio combined for 694 penalty minutes. To put that in perspective, the 29 players who dressed for the 2015-2016 Flyers combined for 956 penalty minutes.

The Broad Street Bullies played a tough, intimidating style of hockey that isn’t as common in today’s NHL. In addition to the “goons,” the team’s most skilled player, captain and leading scorer Bobby Clarke, recorded 113 penalty minutes in the 1973-1974 season. Rather than ease up on the physical play, the Bullies became even fiercer the following season, recording 1,969 penalty minutes as opposed to 1,750 the year prior. Schultz was a big part of that, setting a still-standing record for the most penalty minutes in one season with 472.