Sixers Fans Furious After Vandals Target Tribute to Former Player

Matisse Thybulle

Getty Matisse Thybulle of the Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers fans are rallying around Matisse Thybulle after vandals targeted a mural in his honor, one that the now-former player had personally signed as a goodbye to the Philly fans.

Thybulle was shipped to the Portland Trail Blazers at the recently passed NBA trade deadline, part of a four-team deal that saw Charlotte Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels sent to Philadelphia. Many insiders had expected the team to trade Thybulle, who had been with the Sixers since being selected in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft.

Though Thybulel’s departure was amicable, someone decided to send a mean-spirited message, promoting many in the City of Brotherly Love to rise up in support of him.

Thybulle Goodbye Message Targeted

After he was dealt, Thybulle said goodbye to fans by signing a mural featuring his image and sharing a video of his act on Instagram. In the video, Thybulle covered himself with a hooded sweatshirt and snuck up to the mural, which showed him facing away with arms outstretched.

“Thank you Philly,” he wrote in spray paint, signing his name underneath.

But someone has since vandalized the mural, splashing white paint over Thybulle’s image and his signature. That prompted an angry reaction from many Sixers fans, who called the act unnecessary.

I know some fans didn’t like Thybulle, but this is embarrassing stuff. Classless move,” noted Harrison Grimm of SB Nation’s Liberty Ballers.

Taking the time & energy to vandalize Matisse Thybulle’s mural is so unnecessary,” another fan tweeted. “Do better.”

The owner of the building where the mural was featured was angry as well. Jason Evenchik, owner of Garage Fishtown, expressed his disappointment in a text message to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“This is why we can’t have nice things,” Evenchik wrote.

Evenchick was also upset that it would likely now be impossible to add to the mural, as he had originally planned.

“There goes the plan of trying to fill the wall with autographs over the years to come,” Evenchik said.

Thybulle Finds New Role in Portland

After he had fallen to the back of Sixers head coach Doc Rivers’ rotation in Philadelphia this season — playing a career-low 12.1 minutes per game — Thybulle has found an expanded role with the Blazers. Though it is still a small sample size, Thybulle has seen a significant jump in minutes per game (28.5), points (8.0), rebounds (3.5), and assists (1.5) — all of which would constitute career highs if extrapolated across an entire season.

The two-time NBA All-Defensive Team member said he was especially excited to make his mark on defense in Portland.

“It’s funny … defense comes so naturally to me, it’s an instinctual thing,” Thybulle said, via The Athletic. “Put me on a basketball court and I’m going to figure how to make plays defensively. Similarly, if you put Dame (Lillard) on a basketball court and give him a ball, he’s going to find ways to make shots. It’s just going to happen.

“So to that point, it doesn’t feel like there is pressure, it feels like a lot of opportunity. I would say what I’m most excited about is learning the defense and these guys’ tendencies so we can do it together and it’s more of a dance and movement of, like, cohesiveness as opposed to me making plays as an individual.”

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