The Life of a Sixers Fan: What other sports fan has it harder?
The Sixers have surely been a disappointment for as long as I have been living. It's been a while since Moses Malone, Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Wilt Chamberlain, and Charles Barkley have set foot on an NBA court.
The Sixers had never caught my attention until 1999. I can recall the look on my face when we acquired guys like Geiger and Lynch.
The most dreadful of all, was the horse, Tyrone Hill, the 11th pick of the 1990 NBA draft. At 6-foot-9, the horse was symbolism that Sixers would not win anything. His stats with the Cavaliers were very good and he even earned an All-Star Game appearance in '95.
Little did I know he would be such a failure up in Philly.
Larry Brown, "the savior," as Philly fans called him, was a great coach here with the exception of his choice of players, both in trade and through the draft.
There was one and only one reason Philadelphia did not win the title: who was there to back up "the Answer," Allen Iverson?
Would it be Dikembe "I'm a big man but get pushed around" Mutumbo? Would it be Aaron "Sixth man" McKee? Certainly not Tyrone Hill. It turned out to be, to my dismay, none other then Eric Snow, a player I felt should not have.
A mid-second round pick in the 1995 draft, Snow has produced AMAZING career numbers, including his unbeatable 7.6 ppg and his 9.5 ppg as a Sixer. Anybody can see that this could be a major problem.
The Lakers, on the other hand, had what it took to be a great NBA team. Shaq and Kobe were known as one of the best tandems in the league. There was no question that when the Lakers stepped on the floor that day, they would be beat.
The Draft: 1998
Philadelphia, I believe, had the eighth overall pick in the draft. The Sixers had made some good picks in previous years, Allen Iverson and even Keith Van Horn looked promising; In 1999 he even averaged over 20 ppg.
But, in 1998, the Sixers came into the draft that would dish out four all-stars. The clock ticked, and the Sixers would eventually take Larry Hughes.
"WHAT," my brother screamed. Larry Hughes was supposed to be a good player, but he was a bit of a reach. The thing about him was he had gone to a no-name college prep school, Christian Brothers High School.
Some other people they could have taken were Dirk Nowitzki, the outstanding German, who in 2000-01 was averaging 21.8 ppg. Paul Pierce, on the other hand, was a natural born scorer, eventually leading his team to the conference finals in '02.
The Finals: 2001
Not too much to say. The Sixers came into the game expecting to lose and they lost.
Mutumbo was overpowered. The refs were calling cheap fouls left and right. The Lakers knew there were two things that would win them this championship: three-point shooting and of course, stopping Allen Iverson.
The Sixers amazingly won the first game of the series in OT because of Mr. Iverson. The Lakers had one problem, who was to guard Allen?
They decided on a man named Tyronn Lue. This man was not a great NBA player, but a pure defensive player. Nobody would have guessed it, but he successfully guarded Iverson the whole series, which basically gave the Sixers minimal chances to win.
Philadelphia has never been the same since 2001.
In 2002 and 2003, they would gain entry into the playoffs, only to lose in the first round. They desperately tried to win, but it was no use, as their team of defensive veterans would not beat anyone anymore.
In 2003, the Sixers would lose their famed coach and Randy Aires would take over and have even less luck.
Succeeding Brown, came Philadelphia native Jim O'Brien and Maurice "Mo" Cheeks. The Sixers, in 2004, tried to get someone to work with Iverson in Chris Webber, a previous all-star. Little did the Sixers know that Webber was washed up and couldn't play because of his bad knee.
The year is 2008 and Sixers haven't gotten much better.
Cheeks is a great person, but the Sixers are going nowhere. Willie Green takes way too many shots, and like always, there is nobody to team with the new "AI" (Andre Iguodala.)
A few players on the team look promising, like Louis Williams and Thaddeus Young, hell even Dalembert is getting better since Malone has been helping him. These guys give us hope, and a reason to watch next year.
Although no Philadelphia team has won anything since 1983, there is still one line that brings us back up from the dead, each and every year.
18-28 with a shrug and a blank expression. Sixers fans rejoice and say...
"There's always next year."