Somebody get Orville Redenbacher on the line. We're gonna need a bigger bag.
The channel guide on the set-top box says that tonight's game on TNT is between the Sixers and the Timberwolves, but it was probably saying the same thing 58 years ago when a rookie named Wilt Chamberlain squared off against a fourth-year pro named Bill Russell, right?
Well, no it probably wasn't, Murphy, because digital television programming didn't exist, and, for that matter, neither did the Sixers, and while TNT did exist, it was chiefly used in analytic circles to measure the number of megatons it would take to plunge the world into nuclear winter.
Still, matchups like tonight's are why professional basketball is fun again, and with any luck, we'll be looking back on tonight's showdown between Joel Embiid and 2015-16 rookie of the year Karl-Anthony Towns the same way we look back at that Nov. 7, 1959 game between Russell's Celtics and Wilt's Philadelphia Warriors.
Wrong again, Murphy. See, the Timberwolves play in the Western Conference and the Sixers in the East and the NBA had 22 fewer teams, which meant Eisenhower-era hoops junkies got to see Wilt and Russell square off 13 times that season, six of them in the Warriors' Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Celtics.
Still, firsts are firsts.
While Wilt won the battle in that initial showdown, outscoring Russell by 30-22 and helping to draw five personal fouls, Russell won the war, as the 5-0 Celtics handed the 3-0 Warriors their first loss of the season, 115-106.
As we look ahead to tonight's momentous occasion, let's take a look at how Towns and Embiid stack up. Below are three head-to-head comps: Embiid's first seven NBA games vs. Towns' first seven NBA games, and then their averages this season. Embiid's turnovers and personal fouls are a testament to how raw he still is in the low post.
But the most interesting part of the matchup might be the prospect of watching a 7-foot-3 dude face-guard a 7-foot-0 dude on the perimeter. You want to talk about TNT? Both these guys drop three-bombs like they're holed up in a laboratory in the Nevada desert.
Embiid/Towns, first seven NBA games
Embiid/Towns, 2016-17 averages per 36 minutes
Embiid/Towns, 2016-17 averages per 100 possessions
So, who ya got?