It’s a single subject day here at The Cooler because there might not be a more fascinating tale told this year than the one that dropped Tuesday night via The Ringer.

Let’s try to unpack the story and the aftermath in five parts:

*So the story is complicated, but the upshot is this: The Ringer received an anonymous tip that five different nameless Twitter accounts shared some very strange similarities that made them appear to all be run by one person: Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo. This wouldn’t be a big deal, but the accounts, as scrutinized by The Ringer, revealed a lot of damaging information about the 76ers that also made Colangelo look good in the process. The site summarized that the tweets:

    • Criticize NBA players, including Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, and Nerlens Noel
    • Publicly debate the decisions of his own coaching staff, as well as critique former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie and Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri
    • Telegraph the 2017 trade in which the Sixers acquired the no. 1 overall pick that would become Markelle Fultz
    • Disclose nonpublic medical information about Okafor and gossip about Embiid and Fultz to members of the national and Philadelphia media.

*But wait, doesn’t that seem far-fetched? Why on earth would the executive for an NBA team do that? Well, on the second part that’s a good question. There seems to be no logical ground to do it other than perhaps jealousy that Hinkie and the players he acquired continue to get credit for the 76ers’ success even though Colangelo is now in charge.

On the first part, it absolutely seems far-fetched. But if you read the entire Ringer piece, it builds a very strong case.

*Colangelo admitted that one of the five accounts belonged to him and that he used it to monitor the tweets of those close to the team. That in and of itself is pretty normal these days. I imagine a lot (perhaps the majority) of sports executives have anonymous Twitter accounts to do that very thing, including those in Minnesota. But again, there is strong circumstantial evidence suggesting the other four accounts also belong to Colangelo. He says he is “not familiar with any of the other accounts” brought to his attention and he didn’t know who was “behind them or what their motives may be in using them.”

*That said, the 76ers are taking this seriously and said in a statement Wednesday morning that they have “commenced an independent investigation into the matter. We will report the results of that investigation as soon as it is concluded.”

*The Twitter reaction to the story was massive, including Embiid joining the fray to tweet that he doesn’t believe the story because “that would just be insane.”

Yes, Joel. The whole thing is insane. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. The human brain is conditioned to discredit things that it can’t fathom or process, which means we have to be extra vigilant about such things.

Maybe we’ll find out this is some elaborate hoax perpetrated by someone trying to frame Colangelo or maybe we’ll find out that Colangelo really was this reckless. Let’s let Woj have the final word, in two parts:

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