Despite the NBA finals being right around the corner, the matchup between the Cavs and the Warriors is not the biggest story in the league. That honor goes to Philadelphia 76ers team president Bryan Colangelo and his manic Twitter fingers. According to an explosive report from The Ringer's Ben Detrick, the 76ers czar has been using fake Twitter accounts to share sensitive information about the team, outline internal strategy, and bash his own players.
The Ringer conducted the investigation after receiving an anonymous tip on Twitter, in which the user claimed that Colangelo was running five separate Twitter accounts under various pseudonyms. After The Ringer shrewdly mentioned only two of those accounts to the Sixers' media team, the other three quickly became private. Colangelo admitted to operating one of the two accounts mentioned by The Ringer, but denied any knowledge of the other three. One of the five accounts, "Still Balling," which had been tweeting daily, has effectively shut down since The Ringer's investigation commenced.
There are many clues to suggest that the accounts are at least linked to Colangelo, a former two-time Executive of the Year. The accounts they follow are tied to Colangelo's son, agent and various key figures in the 76ers orbit. All five accounts used similar verbiage and phrasing, which also suggests that they were operated by one person. The accounts also praised Colangelo while downplaying the efforts of his predecessor, Sam Hinkie.
For example, one account once tweeted, in Jan. 2017: "BC has done nothing but clean up hinkie's mess. Hinkie got great pieces but could [not] make the puzzle work."
Colangelo issued a statement to The Ringer:
"Like many of my colleagues in sports, I have used social media as a means to keep up with the news," he said. "While I have never posted anything whatsoever on social media, I have used the @Phila1234567 Twitter account referenced in this story to monitor our industry and other current events. This storyline is disturbing to me on many levels, as I am not familiar with any of the other accounts that have been brought to my attention, nor do I know who is behind them or what their motives may be in using them."
Joel Embiid, who was often the target of the mysterious accounts, responded to the report in typical Embiid fashion.
Fun night on Twitter lmao.. All jokes asides I don’t believe the story. That would just be insane— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) May 30, 2018
Colangelo meanwhile, has gone into damage control mode after the 76ers organization launched an official investigation into the matter.
76ers president Bryan Colangelo has been actively reaching out to individuals mentioned in those burner accounts, insisting that he isn't responsible for those tweets, league sources tell ESPN. Sixers probe is underway in aftermath of The Ringer story.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 30, 2018
For now, it seems his players are giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid tells ESPN on Bryan Colangelo: “I talked to him and he said that he didn’t say that. He called me just to deny the story. Gotta believe him until proven otherwise. If true though, that would be really bad.”— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 30, 2018
If true, it could be a major blow for a team finally headed in the right direction thanks to an exciting young core that includes Embiid and likely Rookie of The Year Ben Simmons.
The Philadelphia 76ers have launched an investigation for the “serious” allegations on president Bryan Colangelo, who was linked to multiple Twitter accounts.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 30, 2018
This isn't the first time that some of the NBA's most prominent figures have gotten themselves into hot water thanks to Twitter gaffes. Reigning Finals MVP Kevin Durant was outed for using fake accounts to defend himself, while his coach, Steve Kerr, mistakenly tweeted something that was supposed to be a DM. But neither misstep is as potentially damaging as this.
Read The Ringer's full report here.