By Lewis Gould

If you think one way you get validation in this sports-crazy country of ours is to get noticed by ESPN, this Friday is right up your alley.

The Worldwide Leader is coming to Philly to cover the Sixers-Thunder, and the phrase “flooding the zone” comes to mind.

Here’s the plan:

Jeff Van Gundy’s one-on-one interview with Sixers head coach Brett Brown;

Doris Burke’s interview with Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo;

Stephen A. Smith, former Inky reporter, on site for First Take (10 a.m. – noon) and SC6 (6 p.m.);

Joel Embiid to appear live with Stephen A. Smith on First Take;

Footage from this Thursday’s Sixers practice to air on SportsCenter AM Friday morning;

Doris Burke will conduct a one-on-one interview with Ben Simmons;

An exclusive look inside the training program of Markelle Fultz, as he works toward a return to the court with Todd Wright, Sixers assistant coach and head of strength and conditioning;

A feature on the Sixers team executive chef JaeHee Cho;

Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil to appear on the The Ryen Russillo Show (between 1-4 p.m.), plus guests on Golic & Wingo (6-10 a.m.) on ESPN Radio;

Several Sixers-related com pieces throughout the week, including Ramona Shelburne on Joel Embiid, and Kevin Arnovitz on Ben Simmons and his love of Australian Rules Football;

ESPN NBA reporters Royce Young, Ian Begley and Nick Metallinos (ESPN Australia) on-site;

Sixers content on ESPN’s daily NBA show, The Jump, at 3 p.m.

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