When players suit up for game time in Los Angeles, they know that the purple and gold uniforms they don have been worn proudly by many of the greatest talents to ever touch the hardwood.
They know that they have been tasked with the awesome responsibility of carrying on the winning tradition of a franchise that has never gone longer than a decade without at least making an NBA Finals appearance.
When players suit up in Boston, they know that they are playing for the team that has won the most championships in basketball. After the 2008 Celtics restored pride to the previously dormant franchise, the entire city of Boston learned to bleed green.
When players suit up in Cleveland...well, they lack all of the history of the Lakers and Celtics—and their sense of style too (seriously, who came up with the idea for those ugly blue and orange Cavs jerseys?)—but they know that they are following behind one of the greatest players the league has ever seen in LeBron James.
LeBron’s enamoring, effective style of leadership has won over teammate after teammate, and he has yet to be spoken ill of by anyone who’s ever played with him.
When players suit up in Philly they have…uh…umm...eh...We’ll get back to that.
The Sixers’ logo and uniform change during the off-season were far from the only problems this team has, to be sure, but could they have been the biggest?
Yes, Elton Brand’s signing turned out to be a bust, and Andre Iguodala’s seemingly superstar potential never quite panned out, but weren’t both of those things true last season when the club at least qualified for the playoffs?
The Sixers just haven’t had as much fight as they had in previous seasons. There’s no denying that the Sixers that pushed the heavily favored Detroit Pistons to six games in 2008, and then did the same to the eventual Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic in 2009, are dead and gone...but why?
The only major loss the Sixers have undergone was the departure of Andre Miller in free agency. Does his absence alone really account for the drop from last year’s 41-41 record to the 28-54 record the Sixers are on pace for now?
In the NBA, losing trends are often the result of domino effects. The Pistons’ recent descent is widely thought to have stemmed from the controversial Allen Iverson-Chauncey Billups trade. The Celtics’ recent struggles are thought to be the result of Kevin Garnett’s inability to regain his 2008 form after the wear and tear on his knees.
The Sixers were never in the Pistons or Celtics’ class, but there’s no denying that they’re undergoing their own downfall.
Of the other teams in the league sporting generic logos and uniforms, the Clippers and Nets are the first to come to mind. Both teams have been barraged with struggles, and neither is an inch closer to playoff contention than the Sixers are.
Of course, the Nets were in the NBA Finals in back-to-back seasons earlier in the decade, but that’s when they were led by a peaking Jason Kidd.
You can put talent in just about anything and it’ll produce. Who wouldn’t take LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in high heels and a tutu over 90 percent of the other players the league has to offer? Greatness needs no inspiration. It steps on the hardwood desiring to take on and conquer the best the league has to offer.
Unfortunately, greatness isn’t a quality the Sixers’ roster possesses.
More often than not, underdogs need a symbol to believe in, or at least an image or standard to live up to. Is it really so hard to believe those things can be found in a logo?