Photo: Matt Rourke (AP)

In a report for The Ringer, Ben Detrick has presented compelling evidence that Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo has a set of anonymous Twitter accounts, which he’s used to criticize his own players, slam former team GM Sam Hinkie, give out his players’ private medical information, and defend his shirt collars. If these accounts do belong to Colangelo, he is way too online and needs to chill out a bit.

The weirdest and funniest tendency of these accounts is their defenses of Colangelo’s shirt collars, which are usually large. “That is a normal collar. Move on, find a new slant,” said one account, @Enoughunkownso1, in response to @Philly_Asshole tweeting, “This dude just love collars.”

But it’s not all self-defense for these Colangelo-loving accounts. They would much more often go off on others in the NBA, like Hinkie, Colangelo’s predecessor at the Sixers.

“BC has done nothing but clean up hinkie’s mess. Hinkie got great pieces but could [not] make the puzzle work,” wrote the account “Eric jr” in January 2017. “Clown? Why? What did Hinkie build? My gosh the biased insanity,” tweeted the same account a month later in response to a tweet saying, “This clown going to ruin everything @Hinkie built.” And @Enoughunkownso1 tweeted last November, “I have no respect for Hinkie’s martyrdom bcs it is orchestrated by him behind the curtains via all the bloggers he cultivated with leaks.”

Colangelo’s replacement in Toronto, Masai Ujiri, received similar criticism. “Eric jr” also brought the heat against, uh, Gabrielle Union. From the report:

In two responses to a February 2017 tweet from actress Gabrielle Union, who pointed out that Tom Brady didn’t visit the White House when Barack Obama was president, Eric jr went on the attack. “I sat NEXT to you and [Dwyane Wade] at Beijing Olympics and saw you both being rude nasty to little kid fan,” the account said. “Had to eat yr pizza. … You showed no respect to this little kid, who are you to stand on high grounds? Never looked at DW the same after that.”

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Bryan Colangelo was in Beijing for the Games, by the way, according to a book on the Redeem Team by Dan Bickley, so that checks out.

But the most potentially damaging tweets from these accounts are the ones about Colangelo’s own players. Multiple tweets to journalists about Jahlil Okafor, now with the Nets, imply that he failed his physicals when the Sixers were initially trying to trade him. One tweet called former Sixers center Nerlens Noel a “selfish punk,” among other insults.

But current Philly cornerstone Joel Embiid is also hit with the spice. “Why didn’t you tell docs knees hurt before Houston?” the “Eric jr” account tweeted directly at Embiid in February 2017. “Too bad that Embiid danced like a fool and the whole disaster happened, next time he will think twice before mocking his team,” the account wrote later that month after Embiid danced onstage at a Meek Mill show. Embiid said that Colangelo has already reached out to him to deny that these accounts are his:

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The key piece of support for these being Colangelo’s accounts, besides commonalities in followers, language, and targets, is what happened after Detrick told the Sixers about a couple of them:

On Tuesday, May 22, I emailed the Sixers and shared the names of two of the accounts, phila1234567 and Eric jr (I did not disclose our suspicions about the other three accounts, one of which, Still Balling, had been active earlier that day; I did this to see whether the partial disclosure would trigger any changes to the other accounts). On a follow-up call that day, Philadelphia’s media representative told me that he would ask Colangelo whether he had any information about the two accounts.

That afternoon, within hours of the call, all three of the accounts I hadn’t discussed with the team switched from public to private, effectively taking them offline—including one (HonestAbe) that hadn’t been active since December. The Still Balling account, which had been tweeting daily, has not posted since the morning of the 22nd ... Since I contacted the Sixers, Still Balling has unfollowed 37 accounts with ties to Colangelo.

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Colangelo eventually said that he used the handle @phila1234567, which never actually posted any tweets, while he denied knowing anything about “Eric jr.” The Sixers rep who spoke to Detrick said he hadn’t discussed the story with anyone else in the organization besides Colangelo.

A more circumstantial yet intriguing piece of evidence comes from one account’s implausibly admiring tweets. When someone asked if he was Bryan Colangelo: “No - but thanks for the compliment!” @Enoughunkownso1 tweeted back. “He is too classy to even engage. Worked with him: he is a class act.”

Either Bryan Colangelo is valiantly battling the haters online, or someone out there really, really loves him.

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[The Ringer]