Philadelphia 76ers point guard T.J. McConnell is a professional, through and through.
For his exit interview after the 76ers were eliminated from the playoffs Wednesday by the Celtics in five games, he did what most of us would do when we interview for a job.
He wore a suit.
“Just trying to be professional. I see the word interview and I don’t think I’d ever go into an interview with sweat pants on or shorts, so that was my mindset,” McConnell said Thursday when asked by a reporter why he was dressed up.
“So I put my wedding suit on and I came in and tried to impress impress (team president) Bryan (Colangelo) and (head coach) Brett (Brown),” he added. “It was the exact suit I got married in.”
You would think it might be the norm to wear a suit, but the reporter asking the question noted that most players were dressed casually for their exit interviews.
Whether it was the suit or his impressive play on the court, the team announced Friday that it was picking up McConnell’s option for the 2018-19 season.
“Like I said, I want to be here,” McConnell said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “So I’m excited they picked it up. But that’s not going to change how I approach every day.”
“I’m going to have that same chip on my shoulder that I always had, and I have to continue to do that,” he added.
McConnell becomes an unrestricted free agent in July 2019. The Sixers have yet to make a long-term decision on his future.
“We are going to let more time play out to decide just how to treat T.J., and attempt to reward him for what he has done for this program,” Colangelo said. “The reality is that you cannot reward everyone or have everyone fit as you move forward and as you make big decisions that affect the ultimate makeup of your team.”
McConnell, a reserve throughout the season, was inserted into the starting lineup in Game 4 of the Celtics series and provided an immediate spark, scoring 19 points and dishing out five assists in the Sixers’ 103-92 win. The offense seemed to flow much better when he was running the show.
McConnell started Game 5 as well, scoring nine points and dishing out six assists in the 114-112 loss. He had a plus-minus of 41 in the series, the highest of any player on either team.
McConnell said he’ll worry about his contract status in 2019, when the time comes.
“But right now, I’m focused on getting better as a player,” he said, “and helping this team take the next step to get past the second round.”
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