My name is Max Rappaport, and I’m in a cult.

No, my fanatical devotion is not tied to any organized religion. Nor is it related to any system of esoteric political or moral beliefs or predicated upon adherence to some perverse hedonistic lifestyle. My allegiance belongs to a basketball team, and one of the worst basketball teams of all time, at that.

It’s why I’m here in the nosebleed section of the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia surrounded by 350 of my fellow zealots. We’ve gathered to perform liturgy in respect to the doctrine that defines our cause—The Process”—with chants, weird hand signals, and matching screen-printed garb.

You may wonder why a team that has amassed fewer than 50 combined wins in their last three seasons has such a devout following. Well, like most cults, there exists a unique history that served to predispose our group to embrace such extreme beliefs.

Philadelphia sports fans, as ruthless and jaded as they are portrayed to be, are in reality more insecure than brutish. Living in the shadow of New York City and the 54 championships The Big Apple holds between its major four league teams, we long for the success the Yankees and Giants have enjoyed in recent years.