The animosity between Philadelphia 76ers fans and Al Horford is no secret. The experiment failed and neither side liked it. There was no natural chemistry on the court between him and Joel Embiid.
Horford returned to Boston and thrived during the Celtics’ unexpected promotion to the NBA Finals. The Athletic’s Jared Weiss wrote a glowing tribute to the 36-year veteran and spoke to various members of the Horford family.
In it are his two sisters (ann, Maria) and a brother (Josh) drop some insightful comments about the Philadelphia experience. They hated Sixers fans and continued to cheer for the Celtics during that ill-fated 2019-20 season. Here is an excerpt from that conversation:
The whole family, it seems, never left Boston. They were an integral part of games and Anna became a social media sensation while her brother was a fundamental part of the organization. She was heartbroken as he texted his siblings, who he signed with the Sixers, minutes before the news broke.
“We have remained 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 it wasn’t something we wanted 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 kept firing for Boston because they’re not jerks,” Josh said.
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Horford “Getting Sick Home to Boston”
Anna Horford has become something of a social media celebrity in recent years. Sixers fans love to talk trash when their brother is playing poorly and the Celtics are losing. Some of the chatter is hilarious; sometimes it crosses the line. And Anna was never afraid of it fire back at the criticism.
Anna also revealed that the whole family, including Al, never wanted to leave Boston and made returning to Beantown a top priority after being engulfed in flames in Philadelphia. He also played a year in Oklahoma City before donning a Celtics jersey again in 2021.
She told The Athletic: “What I’m telling people is that I think we fully manifested his return to Boston because we all wanted it so badly. We sort of got that out. Al alluded to that too. He was always homesick for Boston when he was in Philly and when he was in Oklahoma. Somehow the stars aligned and we came back here and it just worked out perfectly.’”
Poor Fit: No gelling 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 score was the worst since 2008-09, his sophomore year in the NBA. He didn’t seem a good fit alongside Joel Embiid, which Horford was about to admit during a 2021 Sports Illustrated interview.
“I just think to just let it all out, I just think it just didn’t fit well,” Horford told Chris Mannix. “We just didn’t gel. We didn’t fight. And obviously we had a lot of big guys out there, especially playing games, and it just didn’t add up.”