Never had a Cheesteak
People in Puerto Rico have never understood why I love the sixers so much. Only a few guys care when something I write about the team gets published on our top newspaper. My friends wonder why I’m so Iverson crazy and my wife hates the fact that I can’t be spoken to during the games. In this Baseball Island most people care about the NBA when something is said about our Carlos Arroyo and whatever team he is playing on, but not me and a few of my close friends. We love and live the NBA. In law school, we had a corner in the schools main hallway where we would skip Torts or Corporate Law classes just to discuss the NBA. A spot where only NBA could be spoken about and where people who walked by wondered “How did these loud people get into law school?” and hated the fact that most of us would spend ours talking about the NBA instead of reading cases.
I became a Philly fan during Iverson’s third season and haven’t looked back ever since. The year my sixers went to the finals I became possessed and obsessed with this team. Allen Iverson became my favorite athlete of all time and I began to write about the team, the players and the league.
Maybe this background can explain a little why this season hurts so much. Since I became a fan the only games I could watch were those shown on ESPN, ABC and TNT. The satellite service I had did not carry the league pass and I really hated to follow up on games via the internet. But this season was different, I found out that another satellite service would offer the league pass and was finally able to watch every game. I did watch every game including preseason and even though I hate the fact that we aren’t going to the playoffs and that we were the season’s biggest underachievers, my love for this team has grown and I loved every second of this roller coaster ride. I have never been to Philadelphia, and probably won’t be able to go during the Iverson Era since I just graduated law school and need to work my butt off to pay bills, but man this season I felt the pain and cried as much as any Philly fan ever has.
The night after that first loss against the Bucks I couldn’t sleep. I had so many expectations for this team. I spent the whole summer dreaming of an Iguodala breakout season and of Sammy getting some respect around the league. I hoped the Kyle would become the NBA’s best shooter and help us get back into games on a nightly basis. I wanted to see what Willie Green could really do if he was given the chance, and most of all I wanted to watch Iverson tear the league up while playing for the coach he always wanted.
I had to settle for a lot less. Disappointment disenchantment and discontent are just a few of the feelings that lived within me during this season. I had to find out the hard way that Mo is the greatest assistant coach ever, just not good enough to be the leader this team needed this year. I had to watch C-Webb cry over not getting enough touches on nights were he missed 12 shots and made 4. I had to try to sleep after loosing to the Bobcats, Lakers, Knicks and Magic. I had to wake up in the morning and face the reality that it was over before it all began.
During the summer I spent hours writing a blog about the sixers. Midway through the season I gave up. I began to think about writing to ESPN analysts asking them to forgive me for all the hate mail I sent when they said before the season that the sixers were probably a lottery team. Ric Bucher must be laughing at me since the Bulls and Wizzards eliminated us. I had not so friendly email conversations with him about the sixers. He was right all along. Again, he’s the analyst, I’m just a fan. I acted like a protective father when someone is saying something negative but true about his child and is later on proven wrong.
At one point in the season we had the leading scorer, the leagues best shot blocker, the best PF in the east, the best 3 point shooter in the league and the leagues next big thing in AI2. What the hell happened here? How can teams like the Buck, Bulls, Lakers, Wizzards and even the Nets be better than the sixers? Why do we suck? Everyone is yelling Defense but that can’t be enough. Something bigger is going on here. It can be lack of effort, lack of caring or lack of leadership or all of the formerly mentioned. Someone…please do something….
When I woke up this morning I had to read about Billy King saying that he will fix everything. He says that no one is untouchable for trades and that he will begin immediately. I hope he does, we deserve better. But please Mr. King, don’t lie to the fans. Don’t tell us you are committed to a championship when your best move this season was to give us the same team that got killed in the first round last year. Don’t tell us that you are committed to defense when you didn’t try to get Ron Artest. Don’t tell us you are doing your job when Steven Hunter and Lee Nailon are your upgrades. Don’t tell us you are doing your job when you fire head coaches and bring in “buddies” for players that cry when they are told they are not giving it all.
Every time I watched a home game I couldn’t understand the empty seats. How can the fans only support the team when it is winning? When you call yourself fan, you are a true fan and maybe the lack of fan support caused some of the “non-action” by the sixer administration. I have never had a cheesteak; I have never been to Philadelphia. I know about the history of the city and Rocky is one of my favorite movies. But I would shave my eyebrows for a seat at the Wachovia Center and I would kill for a sit down chat with AI. I’m just a fan, I love this team. The season is over… unbelievable.