The Sixers' decision to bring back Allen Iverson has created a buzz in Philadelphia that this organization hasn't experienced since the 2001 season. NBA basketball in his town had become about as irrelevant as Philadelphia's lingerie football team.
Love him or hate him, Iverson has a way of finding himself at the center of attention. And let's face it—the Sixers need as much attention as they can get.
It's not about him taking minutes away from Jrue Holiday or who will start once Lou Williams comes back. This team isn't winning anything anytime soon. LeBron James isn't sitting out there as the prize for team with the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft. Losing to acquire a better draft slot was always a weak argument to me anyway.
What the Sixers need most is to recapture their place on the Philadelphia sports map.
Unless you are the most ardent die-hard, the Sixers have provided very little reason to watch their games. Walking around the city, it's rare to see anyone wearing Sixers gear. The Wachovia Center is a cold, quiet and empty place these days during NBA games.
Earlier this year, the Celtics came to town and the arena was easily less than half-full. Many in the crowd were rooting for the hated C's, and as a Sixer fan, it was hard for me to say anything to them. That's how sad it's become.
Which brings us back to AI. It doesn't matter if this decision was more for business than wins and losses. The return of "The Answer" has people talking and thinking about Sixers basketball again. Monday's game against Denver is an expected sellout, something that even a visit by the Cavs or Lakers probably wouldn't generate.
Thursday's press conference had me excited to be a Sixers fan again. I got choked up when AI did and got chills thinking about the memories he helped make and the prospect of a new beginning. To me, that afternoon alone made it worth signing him.
Who knows how long the buzz will last or how many more additional tickets will be sold. Is this a playoff team or still just an afterthought in an already watered-down league? Doesn't really matter because the Sixers, for now, are no longer out of sight, out of mind.
You have to start somewhere....