Back on Dec. 17, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown sought out the help of former San Antonio Spurs defensive specialist Bruce Bowen to give a pregame talk to the Sixers. As it turns out, the move absolutely backfired, with reports emerging that Bowen’s speech actually resulted in the opposite of what coach Brown had hoped for.
Bowen lectured the players about cherishing their roles, whatever they might be. He created an awkward environment, according to multiple league sources. The 13-year veteran singled out Embiid, yelling, “I ain’t scared of you” three times while walking toward the big man. Realizing the approach was having a negative effect, Bowen told Embiid he was only joking. However, the center was noticeably upset and went on to struggle in that night’s 123-96 loss to the Spurs. Folks in the room felt as if the speech was scripted.
Unfortunately for Bowen, Brown, and the Sixers, what was supposed to be a pregame pep talk turned into a very awkward situation. As Pompey explained, Embiid and the Sixers had a terrible outing that evening, with the big man scoring only 13 points on 6-of-17 from the floor and going 0-of-6 from 3-point territory.
This likely served as a lesson for Brown — who later apologized — on how he should now be more selective when it comes to inviting outsiders to help motivate his guys. For his part, however, Bowen probably shouldn’t expect a call from Brown anytime soon.