The Sixers have managed to put themselves back into the center of the Philadelphia sports world. After three years and three teams, the Answer has returned to Philadelphia.
The man who pulled this team out of the cellar and eventually to the NBA Finals is back. However, he doesn’t return as the AI we all remember. He’s no longer the MVP, nor a league leading scorer, and certainly not the superstar he use to be.
He’s the shot in the arm this team needs to fill the seats and sell merchandise. What remains to be seen is if he’ll give this team anything on the court.
As a PR move this is a no-brainer and everyone knows that. From a Basketball stand-point this could be an absolute disaster. Everyone seems to forget why the Sixers got rid of him in the first place.
The Sixers mediocre at best performance since trading Iverson has done little to give fans hope. This move gives them hope, returns them to better times, no doubt the Wachovia Center will be rockin’ on Monday night. However, the Sixers are setting themselves and their fans up for a huge let down. Most fans are now coming back for the first time since Iverson was traded. The Sixers are in danger of losing them again, this time for good. They are now giving these people hope, something they haven’t seen when it comes to this team since Iverson was here. When this move fails, and it will, the Sixers won’t have a quick fix move out their to bring fans back. Signing an Elton Brand type player won’t do it, they’ll have to get someone better and win with them first before fans will trust this franchise again.
Many in the Sixers organization have called this a low risk, high reward move. And that may be so when it comes to the contract they convinced Iverson to sign. However, the coming let down could hurt this franchise more than they think. They’ll have alienated their fans again. When the Sixers eventually have to deal with whats coming, they’ll be wishing they were back to the days when no one cared about what this franchise was doing.
About the Author
Written by Mike Santa Barbara
Sports writer covering mostly Philadelphia sports for over 10 years. Work has been featured on RealGM.com, GCobb.com and Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia (CSNPhilly.com.)