‘It wasn’t too good of an interaction’ when T.J. McConnell met Ben Roethlisberger

May 9, 2018 GMT

While Pittsburgh is wallowing in the disappointment of the Penguins’ loss to Washington, the city seemed to at least crack a collective smile when we saw how well T.J. McConnell did on Monday night.

The Chartiers Valley product started and had 19 points on 9 of 12 shooting for Philadelphia. He helped keep the 76ers alive as the Celtics were trying to sweep them in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

After 39 minutes of play, McConnell left the court to a standing ovation and the Philly crowd chanting his name.

Tuesday, McConnell went on the Dan Patrick Show to discuss his performance. The conversation eventually turned to Pittsburgh sports. Patrick asked if McConnell was a Steelers fan and if he had met any of the players growing up, specifically quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

“I met Roethlisberger a while ago when I was little. But it wasn’t too good of an interaction,” McConnell said. “I respect him as a player. But he wasn’t exactly the nicest guy.”

Patrick pressed McConnell for some details.

The Philadelphia guard said when he was in sixth grade, Roethlisberger showed up at his school for a “Hoops for a Cure” event. According to McConnell, this was after the Steelers had won Super Bowl XL in Detroit, and Roethlisberger was being “bombarded left and right” for autographs.

McConnell says he better understands the situation now. But the interaction bothered him so much he actually stopped rooting for the Steelers for a while.

“I was a little petty and started rooting for some teams in our division,” McConnell admitted. “I was a Cincinnati Bengals fan for a little bit.

“They were never any good when I rooted for them.”

McConnell claims he has since “reverted back” to being a Steelers fan again.

You can hear the whole interview here. McConnell talks more basketball, his disappointment over the Pens loss to the Washington Capitals, his family one-on-one games, his haircut and “favorite white guy cliches.”

Toward the end, Patrick suggested that McConnell offer Roethlisberger tickets if the Sixers can force a Game 6 to smooth things over.

“I’ll see what I can do,” McConnell answered. “But he might not be too interested.”

I don’t know about that. Roethlisberger likes basketball. He might enjoy the trip. Perhaps it can be a bonding experience for him and Mason Rud ...

Never mind.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at tbenz@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TimBenzPGH.