Shortly after I arrived in Philadelphia from LA last night (I was already eating the Wawa samich and Tastykake we picked up on the way home), my mom pulled out a notebook. She said she'd been looking through old boxes and pulled out something Sixers-related (kinda disappointed she didn't say "Sixersy." Get your act together, Mom.) that I did when I was younger.
And so it is with great glee and nostalgia that I present to you this letter I wrote to the Sixers.
Yes, I know, this is excellent. But to simply leave it at that is not in my nature. Let's break it down.
1. Before we get to the note itself, I have to don a detective's cap and figure out when exactly this letter was written. Vernon Maxwell, despite being my role model throughout my childhood and adolescence, was only on the Sixers for one season. One glorious season -- in 1995-96, when the Sixers finished 18-64 under head coach John Lucas. Mad Max averaged 16 points on a crisp 39% clip and played against the Hawks exactly twice that year. January 19th, in Philadelphia and April 6th, in Atlanta. I'm going to assume it was the 19th for a few reasons. One: By the second meeting with Maxwell, the Sixers were already 44 games under .500. I was 6, but I wasn't an idiot. Two: Mike At Age 6 would be much more likely to sit inside and write a letter in the freezing cold January rather than April. Thus, I can conclude with reasonable certainty that this letter was written by a 6-year-old Mike Levin on a chilly afternoon, January 19th, 1996. And we proceed.
3. The post-script is longer than the initial letter, which totals five words. Five simple words that I felt a burning desire in my 6-year-old loins to tell the Sixers. Speaking of loins, this was the year after the infamous 1995 Eastern Conference Finals Knicks-Pacers-Ewing Knickerboxers incident, which you already know if you follow me on Twitter.
4. What did I have against Mookie Blaylock? My violent sports tendencies are on full display for all to see here. Were I to ever attack an athlete, journalists would go back, see this letter and go "Oh, that makes sense." Mookie was lucky he caught my hatred at an early, unformed age.
5. What is a pank? Could it be "park"? That'd be mixing up sports. Maybe "paint"? That seems the less-Dextery answer. Perhaps he was just penetrating and I wanted someone (LaSalle Thompson, probably) to bump him off his path. I'm open to suggestions/therapy.
6. Clearly I thought Mookie was related to future Texas Ranger Hank Blalock, hence the spelling confusion.
7. Spelling: Not great.
8. Handwriting: Fairly excellent, with the minor blemish on running out of page for "Maxwell", which still happens to me today, and the Y in "you".
9. Word Choice: "Tonight" twice? I'm gonna have to give partial credit here.
10. Style: Absolutely impeccable.
The Sixers would go on to break my heart that night, losing to Mookie and the Hawks 82-77. Maxwell tallied an efficient 20 points on 14 shots off the bench, but Blaylock's 23-6-4 and impressive rebounding efforts from Grant Long and Craig Ehlo proved too much for the 7-29 Sixers to handle. I hadn't been driving the Tank Train at age 6, otherwise I would've asked them to lose and lose soundly. Allen Iverson was the result of all that losing just a few months later. Thank you, Mookie.
This is how I'm going to blog from now on.