The animosity between Philadelphia 76ers fans and Al Horford isn’t a secret. The experiment failed and neither side enjoyed it. There was no natural on-court chemistry between him and Joel Embiid.
Horford went back to Boston and has been thriving during the Celtics’ unexpected rise to the NBA Finals. The Athletic’s Jared Weiss wrote a glowing tribute to the 36-year-old veteran and talked to different members of the Horford family.
In it, his two sisters (Anna, Maria) and one brother (Josh) drop some eye-opening comments about the Philly experience. They hated Sixers fans and kept rooting for the Celtics during that ill-fated 2019-20 season. Here is a snippet of that conversation:
The whole family, it seems, never moved on from Boston. They were fixtures at games, and Anna became a social media sensation while her brother was a foundational piece of the organization. She was heartbroken when he texted his siblings he was signing with the Sixers minutes before the news broke.
“We stayed Celtics fans when he was in Philly and when he was in OKC. We couldn’t let go,” Maria said. “They showed us so much love, and that wasn’t something we were ready to let go of, so we just never did. And we’re back!”
“Philly fans hated us there,” Anna added. “They hated us for it.”
“We continued to root for Boston, because they’re not dickheads,” said Josh.
The latest Sixers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Sixers newsletter here!
Horford ‘Always Home Sick for Boston’
Anna Horford has become somewhat of a social media celebrity in recent years. Sixers fans love to talk trash when her brother is playing poorly and the Celtics are losing. Some of the chatter is hilarious; sometimes it crosses the line. And Anna has never been afraid to fire back at the criticism.
Anna also revealed that the whole family, including Al, never wanted to leave Boston and made it a top priority to get back to Beantown after flaming out in Philadelphia. He also played one year in Oklahoma City before putting a Celtics uniform back on in 2021.
She told The Athletic: “I tell people I think we fully manifested his return to Boston because we all wanted it so badly. We kind of put that out there. Al has alluded to that, as well. He always was homesick for Boston when he was in Philly and when he was in Oklahoma. Somehow, the stars aligned, and we got back here, and it just worked out perfectly.'”
Not Good Fit: Not Jelling or Meshing
Horford opened up about what went wrong during his one year in a Sixers uniform. He averaged 11.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game during the 2019-20 season. That point total was the worst since 2008-09, his second year in the NBA. He didn’t seem like a good fit next to Joel Embiid, something Horford was willing to admit during a 2021 Sports Illustrated interview.
“I just think, just putting it all out there, I just think it just wasn’t a good fit,” Horford told Chris Mannix. “We just weren’t jelling. We weren’t meshing. And obviously, we had a lot of big guys out there in particular out playing, and it just wasn’t fitting.”