Make sure you take your mom out to brunch early on Sunday. May 12 is the culmination of years of hype, nonstop fan theories and chaotic family dynamics. The two nerdiest things about me are the hundreds of Sixers blog posts I've written in my parents' basement (I live on my own now) and my absolute obsession with Game of Thrones. Those worlds will come crashing together on Sunday night.
The Sixers tip off against the Raptors in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at 7 p.m. on TNT. The penultimate episode of Thrones starts at 9 p.m. on HBO. The second half of the game will overlap with Thrones. How do you watch the Sixers without getting Thrones spoiled for you? Let me run you through your viewing options:
1. Turn the Sixers off and watch Thrones when it starts. I cannot stress this enough: if you do this, you are a coward. Every Sixers game for the last two weeks has been billed as "THE BIGGEST SIXERS GAME SINCE 2001," but this is literally THE BIGGEST SIXERS GAME SINCE 2001. Game of Thrones is the last true television event. The rise of streaming services has killed the collective experience of millions of people simultaneously watching a single episode of a television series. I get it. It's become my favorite show ever in such a short amount of time. Come on though. Game 7? Game 7. Don't overthink it. Five years ago, an Iranian man named Arsalan Kazemi was playing for the Sixers in the 2014 NBA Summer League. Do you know who that is? If for some reason you do, you owe it to yourself to watch Joel Embiid send a Pascal Siakam shot flying across the court as it hits Drake in the face.
2. Turn your phone off when Thrones starts. The easiest thing in the world for anyone born before 1987 and essentially impossible for anyone born after. You would have to DVR Thrones, turn your phone off at 8:59 p.m. sharp, catch up with it through your DVR or HBO NOW after the game ends and go without your phone cold turkey until the episode is over. Seems simple enough, but you would miss out on Sixers Twitter going ballistic watching the team advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 2001. Chaos is a ladder. By the time you turn your phone on, someone might have Jimmy Butler's face tattooed on their neck. Conversely, you could miss the a colossal fan base meltdown if the Sixers come up short. You win or you die. There is no middle ground.
The idea of not being able to compulsively and anxiously scroll through my Twitter timeline during the fourth quarter of a Sixers elimination game is terrifying, but this is the option I'm going to choose. Valar morghulis.
3. Mute every word even remotely related to Game of Thrones on your Twitter app. It's quite time-consuming, but it's what I did when I was catching up on the show in between Season 7 and Season 8. It's not foolproof though because some nitwit will spell Targaryen incorrectly or tweet, "ARYAAAAA KILLED HIM!!!" or use some weird unpredictable hashtag that you couldn't possibly have muted ahead of time and ruin everything. This is the riskiest option, but if your heart is going to pop out of your chest if you don't tweet "#MikeScottHive" after a huge fourth quarter three-pointer, go for it.
4. Share this article on Facebook and Twitter before throwing your phone into the Schuylkill. Can't get spoiled if you have no communication with the outside world!
The idea of a Sixers Game 7 is as electrifying as it is downright frightening. The same goes for the experience of watching the loose ends of Game of Thrones come together. In these trying times, I think to what Brett Brown might say if he was a Westerosi water dancer:
"What do we say ta tha gawd of death? Nawt today."