Today, March 22nd, is Dana Barros Appreciation Day. Now, it's a relatively new holiday. It's not yet recognized by state governments or the Federal Reserve, but we're working on that. I have a plan in place, you see. Formal letters have been mailed, commentators. I assure you of that. We also have LB interns collecting signatures on the streets of Center City and Rittenhouse Square as we speak.
"Sir, can we have just a moment of your time? Sir? Ma'am? Hi, ma'am. Do you have a second?"
While this inaugural holiday celebration is a bit, let's say, subdued; next year will be different.
Next year, we're gonna do it right. We're going to party. Jordan offered to host already. Dweebowitz will work the grill, and Tanner will be laying down all your favorite tracks from the eighties, nineties, and today. Mike will be in the corner, I suspect, name dropping like only he can.
"Oh, Brad? Angelina's husband? Yeah, I passed him in the hallway once."
"Oh, Spike? Spike Eskin? Yeah, we've chatted on the phone before."
"Derek Bodner? Oh, him? We did lunch last week actually."
At some point in the night - after a few rounds of Scattergories I presume - we will all take a moment to reflect. Remind ourselves why we are gathered here today, with drinks in hand, standing in Jordan's living room.
To the best damn Sixers point guard not named Mo!
"To Dana Barros!"
To the guy who hung 50 on the championship Rockets!
"To Dana Barros!"
To the 1995 Eastern Conference All-Star Reserve!
"To Dana Barros!"
Enjoy it, Dana. Bask in it. Today is your day.
Guest of Honor: Dana Barros
Born: April13, 1967
College: Boston College
Sixers Tenure: 1993-1995
Semi-Believable Dialogue from 1995:
"Ma! Barros has forty-five! Ma! Ma! Ma!"
"Do you know any rivers in Asia, Dave? Five letters?"
Prior to the '93-'94 NBA season, the most influential Dana in my life was Dana Foster. So I suppose it's not a real stretch to say that Barros quickly supplanted a fictional high school girl from Port Washington, Wisconsin. But Barros wasn't just a two season fling. He was more than a stop gap that bridged the Barkley and Iverson years. For many, Dana Barros was their first athlete love. And that love is pure, sincere. To borrow a metric from Mr. Levin: Dana Barros' popularity in this city on the 1 to Dana Barros Grading Scale is, without question, a Dana Barros.
Dana Barros was a beacon of hope.
He helped us move on from baseball strikes and 7'6" draft mistakes. In his final season in Philadelphia, Barros averaged twenty and seven. And it wasn't a quiet twenty points either. This wasn't Shareef Abdur-Rahim ho-humming his way to a double-double in Vancouver. Barros' twenty and seven had flair. He was an artist. And unlike the many performers before him who sold out*; Barros remained indie. He preferred the intimacy of the Spectrum, playing for me, and just five thousand of my closest friends.
(*Although, for historical accuracy's sakes, Barros did sign a big free agent deal with Boston following the '94-'95 season)
Dana Barros never put his feet on the ground, and his last-second shot left the Sixers walking on air last night.
With just one half-second left in overtime, Barros jumped to catch a Jeff Hornacek inbounds pass. He caught the ball in the air and released it all in one quick motion to beat the clock and the Indiana Pacers. His 16-foot shot went gently through the net as the Sixers recorded the 104-102 victory at the Spectrum. (Bob Ford; Philadelphia Inquirer; January 15th, 1994).
Barros embraced the city of Philadelphia, and we embraced him. His good deeds in the community are well-documented. Last week, I took a trip to my local library and found this gem in their archives.
"Dana Barros Saves Kitten from Tree"
By Judith Milledge
Sixers point guard, Dana Barros, rescued a kitten outside Franklin Mills Mall yesterday. Official reports claim that Barros, who was signing autographs at Modell's in the early afternoon, witnessed a large crowd gathered at a nearby oak tree. The kitten's owner, Bobby Johnson, age seven, from Parkwood, told reporters that Barros walked over and calmly addressed the crowd.
"He told everyone to stand back and to be quiet. He said that a lot of noise would scare Mr. Whiskers," said Johnson. "He said to me, ‘Don't worry. I will rescue your kitten.'"
With a hushed and anxious crowd looking on, Barros climbed up to the third branch and ushered the kitten to safety. Witnesses report that a loud applause erupted when the boy and his kitten were finally reunited.
"He did a great thing today," said a local shopper who asked not to be identified. "Mr. Barros truly is a great point guard and a pillar to the community."
Barros and Mr. Whiskers then posed for a few pictures to the delight of the mall crowd.
I found hundreds of articles like this.
"Barros Surprises Local Teen with New Bicycle"
"Barros Endorses Rendell; Mayor's Approval Rating Jumps Ten Points."
The list goes on. I got swept up in Dana Barros nostalgia that Saturday afternoon. I was at a library desk, alone, surrounded by newspaper clippings and empty Dr. Pepper cans. The day turned to night. My five o'clock shadow grew full, thick, like Goldberg's neck. Scribbled out similes and semi-believable dialogues from 1995 filled the blank pages of my notebook. Finally, around midnight or so, the librarian tapped me on the shoulder. Asked me to leave. Said the custodian was locking up. I grabbed my things, stood up.
"This is only the beginning," I told her. She shrugged.
Happy Dana Barros Appreciation Day, everyone. See you at Jordan's.
Before there was "40 Bars," there was "Check It" by Dana Barros.
The Game-Winning Shot Against Indiana
Can be seen here. The 1:58 mark.
Dana Barros Trivia
The Sixers received Barros and a couple of others from Charlotte. What player did they send to the Hornets?