Marquis is a born and raised Atlantan.
Once his Atlanta Hawks secured the team’s first spot in the Eastern Conference semifinals since 2016, he and his girlfriend decided to fly up to Philadelphia to see Game 1 of the round two matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers in Wells Fargo Center.
There was no local television broadcast, so all fans had to watch the ABC presentation. Throughout the game, the cameras consistently panned to two Hawks fans in attendance. Quavo, who apparently went straight to Miami after the game to perform with the Migos before the Logan Paul-Floyd Mayweather, Jr. flight, and Marquis.
“I didn’t know all of that was going on, Bruh,” Marquis said on the “Birds and Buckets” podcast. “My phone was dead the whole game.”
A game that started off with back-and-forth scoring, anchored by Bogdan Bogdanović on the Hawks’ side of things, eventually turned into a one-sided shooting clinic and a 20-plus point first half lead by Atlanta.
“I didn’t expect the guys to come out and shoot like that,” Marquis said. “I thought it was going to be like, you know like how it was in New York. It was a grind. I thought it would be more of a grind, but they came out with a lot more energy.”
As the team scored each of its 42 first quarter points, the cuts became more frequent.
“It was like the third quarter, you know we blowin’ them out,” Marquis said. “These folks made a three. These folks, I swear the arena didn’t make any noise. Like, the jumbotron was dead, there wasn’t a kiss cam, nothing.”
The city of Philadelphia was in shock. The 76ers, who 14 out of 16 ESPN reporters picked to advance over the Hawks before the series, were getting blown out by a fifth seed missing starting forward De’Andre Hunter while NBA MVP candidate Joel Embiid worked his way to a 39-point, 9-rebound and 4-assist performance.
Then, Marquis’ shining moment.
With 8:26 to go in the fourth quarter, Bogdanović found an open Danilo Gallinari across court just in front of the 76ers’ bench. Perhaps a full-circle moment for Philadelphia fans on the 20th anniversary of Allen Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue in front of the Los Angeles Lakers’ bench in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. Gallinari, a 32-year-old NBA veteran known more for his shooting ability than jaw-dropping athletic prowess, drove to the basket and double-pumped a two-hand dunk to force another 76ers’ timeout and increased the Hawks’ lead to 17 at 105-88.
Before going to commercial break, ABC once again cut to Marquis, and this time was glorious. The lifelong Hawks’ fan stood up out of his seat in an arena full of quiet Philadelphia fans to yell to the ceiling as his girlfriend frantically swung a red t-shirt similar to a postseason rally towel.
Such actions birthed a meme for the Hawks’ fanbase and NBA viewers around the world.
“People at the game were coming up to me and showing me like, ‘Aye, we on ABC!’” Marquis said. “‘We on ABC!’ I’m like, ‘Damn, for real? I guess I was doing too much.’”
Marquis has since tweeted he plans to be in State Farm Arena for Game 3 and he has one mission.
“I really just wanna make Atlanta sports cool to the world,” he tweeted. “Let’s do it together.”
He also showed complete awareness of what he has started on his road warrior journey,
“Safe to say I can’t go back to Philly no time soon,” he tweeted.
Game 2 is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center.