Every NBA team needs a T.J. McConnell, and him dragging an absolutely raging Jimmy Butler carcass away from a potential squabble against the Hawks is all the proof you need.
Butler accidentally got clocked in the head by an Alex Len elbow on Friday. Before he could get off the floor, the 6’2 McConnell lugged his new 6’8, 220-pound teammate the heck out of the paint and out of trouble.
Butler was HEATED after taking an elbow to the face, but T.J. came to the rescue to keep him out of trouble.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 12, 2019
Len got a flagrant 1 for this. pic.twitter.com/Cryg7Riwsu
And it’s not even the only teammate highlight he had on Friday. After draining a three-point shot in the corner next to former 76er, Justin Anderson, he gave him a gut punch.
Watch TJ McConnell in the corner and his reaction to former teammate Justin Anderson’s heckling on the 3. pic.twitter.com/CmjbqmNtqC— Noah Coslov (@NoahCoslov) January 12, 2019
This has become common for the smallest Sixer.
McConnell’s likability among Sixers fans is off the charts.
I mean sheesh, his iconic play is a backcourt pesky-gnat type of steal:
this is now known as the tj mcconnell play pic.twitter.com/kFIrEEDo5Q— Drew Corrigan (@Dcorrigan50) January 9, 2019
spider-man-pointing-at-spider-man-meme.jpg pic.twitter.com/0IHg8O2irz— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 6, 2019
He’s also known for his dance moves:
(That looks like he just learned how to dance from YouTube.)
He gives hugs:
There was the time he wore his literal wedding suit to his Sixers exit interview:
The time when Joel Embiid made his Twitter picture a side-by-side of McConnell and Michael Jordan fist-pumping:
And who could forget one of the most iconic Process pictures of all-time:
But the love from fans doesn’t stretch beyond the court
For all of McConnell’s memeability and in-the-moment glory, the common Philly resident in doesn’t recognize him in public. When the 76ers were in D.C. this week, I asked McConnel if he gets stopped as a celebrity when going to buy clothes or doing any other basic human errands. “It literally never happens,” McConnell said.
With a slender build and slightly-above-average height, McConnell gets away with what his seven-foot friends can’t.
“I look like a normal guy,” McConnell admitted. “Especially if I put a hat on, I guarantee you 99 percent of people wouldn’t know what I look like. I’m out shopping and eating and I just blend right in.”
But could just any normal guy (maybe in a hat) haul Jimmy Butler away from a scrap?
No. That job’s reserved for the NBA’s greatest teammate.