The Playoffs start in about a week and after that we'll be busy covering the draft, followed by the off-season. That said, I want to take a brief moment to write about the community we've created here.
Back when I started my own Sixers blog in the summer of 2008, I remember getting excited when I got 100+ visitors in a day. This season (December to April), roughly 589,000 people visited Liberty Ballers – 12 thousand more people than watched the Sixers at Wells Fargo Center.
LB has approximately 2,400 registered users, 1,000 followers on Twitter and 900 likers on Facebook. This site would be nothing without the people who read, follow and comment. So, I want to personally thank each and every person that has ever read the site, commented on a post, followed any of us on Twitter, liked us on Facebook, interacted through the various social media platforms, e-mailed us or referred us to friends.
The site has evolved into something more than just a forum to discuss basketball. It's almost like a local bar. Sometimes everything but basketball is discussed. The amount of inside jokes cracked here make me feel like I'm part of some exclusive club, yet every new member – and his or her opinions – are welcomed with open arms.
I look forward to the community continuing to evolve into a place where people can: talk basketball, share laughs, vent, talk wrestling, learn basketball, make virtual (and sometimes real life) friends, and serve as a temporary getaway for those going through things in their everyday life.
I truly appreciate all of you guys (and girl(s)) and can't wait to continue this journey out of mediocrity with you.
For Mike, Tanner, Derek and myself, this was our second full year together, but we added a fifth member to our staff this season. Dave Rueter quickly became a fan favorite with his Remember This Guy series. It's been a pleasure working with Dave these past few months and I look forward to his future posts, as they usually induce Brendan Fraser epic laugh-claps upon reading.
My co-pilot, Mr. Michael Levin dominated the heck out of this season, producing an insane amount of quality content. The Sixers have turned The Artist Formerly Known As Michael Bourn into an emotional mess; you never know what you're going to get with Mike. Sometimes he's a 12 year old boy. Sometimes he wants to smear Doug Collins face and long-two-oriented offense into a steaming pile of cow dung. And sometimes he listens to Barry Manilow in the corner of his dark apartment whispering "Sugar Bear", to himself. Regardless of his emotional state, Mike's posts are always filled with extreme sarcasm and wit.
Tanner Steidel continued to appeal to the Fresh Princes of the site, with his pop culture references, obscure rap lyrics and shoe game commentary. Wednesday night's game threads wouldn't have been the same without the accompanying music video, along with a loss, because the Sixers always lost when Tanner did game threads.
Last but not least, probably the most knowledgeable and level-headed basketball mind on the site, Derek Bodner provides the best Xs and Os Sixers analysis you'll find anywhere on the web. His articles normally require a cigarette and back massage upon completion because he consistently drops thousand word essays, carefully crafted with first-class basketball insight. He's also our go-to guy when it comes to the NBA Draft and first-person reports from press row.
Friends of the Site
I could write thousands and thousands of words of people who have helped the site become what it's become and I'd still end up leaving people out, so I'm just going to name a few. If I forget anyone, please forgive me! (And rudely remind me that I forgot you).
Thanks to Tyler and EVERYBODY at SB Nation for EVERYTHING.
Thanks to Zach Lowe, Dan Devine, Spike Eskin, J.E. Skeets, Tas Males and Matt Moore for always giving LB props on their respective sites.
Thanks to Tom Moore for being our pal.
Thanks to Xavier Silas for being a friend of the site.
Thanks to Marreese Speights. We miss you.
Thanks to Mike Preston for giving Derek credentials.
Thanks to Brian the guys at Depressed Fan for the great coverage they provide every season.
Thanks to andyswaistline and Philly Follower for their Photoshop skills and game thread excel sheets, respectively.
Thanks to Kenny aka The Legend for always breaking news in the FanShots section.
Thanks to Dweeb for his chicken soup and sarcasm. And jefu and yosoysean – two of the most veteran LB'rs we have.
Thanks to RickoT and the ghosts of LeQuan and John. You guys are awesome.
Thanks to Orestes Meeks for being our blog dad.
Thanks to Sarah Clayton for being the second best looking Sixers fan on Twitter, behind Derek.
Thanks to Adam Aron for being ... Adam Aron.
And Malik and Marc Zumoff – the best broadcasters in the NBA.
Once again, I can't thank you guys enough. I've thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this season, despite how painfully mediocre it's been. And it's all because of Liberty Ballers. Look forward to the Playoffs, draft and off-season. And hey, there's always next year!