Liberty Ballers Turns Five Years Old

Yes, that's Kobe's hand. Shut up about it, okay?! - Ronald Martinez

Dear Internet, it is our birthday.

Once in a while, it's nice to look back. Today marks the five year anniversary of Liberty Ballers coming into this world. And though that's an arbitrary number, it's a nice round one at which to stop and see where our footprints have taken us. Sorta seems silly to say, but my life would be tremendously different were it not for this basketball blog, and at the five-year mark before the start of a completely new era of Sixers basketball, it's the right time to reflect.

It was October 9th, 2008 when a new and -- let's be honest -- not very good blog called SixerSoul.com was gobbled up by Sports Blog Nation in an attempt to finally solidify its 76ers coverage. Jordan Sams, a teenage Sixers fan from Las Vegas (?!), had a fresh voice and adorable optimism regarding Marreese Speights and the lovely people at SBN gave him a shot. There was not much of a fanbase for LB back then. The first comment was, delightfully, made my Jordan's mom (big ups to Nina, still sorry about leaving the garage door open).

But our boy Jordan pushed forward and ran LB solo for almost a year. It was a fight to get people to read and comment and give a crap. He did a hell of a job. This place wouldn't come close to existing without him.

Finally, he asked an enthusiastic but often misguided commenter named TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsMichaelBourn (TAFKAMB, that's me) for help. Not long after that, Tanner. Then Derek. Then Dave. And though the Sixers' ups were drowned by all of the downs, Liberty Ballers grew. We grew as writers. As a community. As people. We've been little internet friends with some of you people for longer than a lot of my real life friends. You know who you are.

And last September, just after the Bynum trade, Jordan checked out. Blogging wears on you. I'd compare it to being a cop if I wasn't as aware of how ridiculous that sounded. But we as a community were strong enough to withstand a loss like that with an infusion of new talent. Brandon and Justin and Baumann and Rich and Roy and now, Sean and the Jakes. If there's one thing I'm proud of, it's the tremendous range of voices we have here, not to mention how you guys all respond to them differently. I don't think there are too many places on this here internet with that kind of rapport. That rocks.

It's been five years. A lot has changed. We've survived a lot. Eddie Jordan, Andrew Bynum, the pointless return of Allen Iverson. Three years of Doug Collins. The Iguodala trade. The Jrue Holiday trade. GM searches. Coaching searches. Mascot searches. Willie Green. Darius Songaila. Francisco Elson. Jason Kapono. Monta Ellis rumors. Josh Smith rumors. A few playoff wins. Mediocracy. Lots of tanking. I met Spencer Hawes. Even more theoretical future tanking. Lucy the Giant Tanking Octopus. Andrew Bynum still. Everything about Evan Turner. Sixersing. Sixersy, Sixersest, So Sixers, Sixersing.

Cannot thank all of the people who write or have written here enough -- mostly for free -- over the years. I know I speak for all of the writers in saying I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for the people who read and comment every day. There's no chance I would be the writer I am today, in any medium, if it weren't for Jordan and the good people at SBNBA giving me the chance to word vomit about the Sixers or you idiots for wasting your time reading it.

I hope we've entertained you. We will continue to try. Pour one out for the Sixers of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. They're the reason we're here. As screwed up as the lot of us are, we really did come for the Sixers basketball. And in typical LB fashion, y'all stayed for the poop.

We ain't goin' nowhere. Next year in Delaware. L'Chaim.

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