Yesterday, I received a phone call from my Sixers season ticket rep. I usually ignore the calls, but I was in the middle of a nap and picked up the phone in a stupor without looking at who was calling. Don't get me wrong, my rep seems like a wonderful guy, but as a student there is no way I could ever afford to upgrade my seats. He ended up just calling to ask me to head to the Wells Fargo Center that night to listen to Brett Brown answer some questions about the team and the upcoming draft. I had nothing to do between the World Cup game and the NBA Finals, so I decided to take the subway to AT&T Station and check it out.
The trip was well worth the two subway tokens that I thought I would be wasting. The Wells Fargo Center was literally an open-house. You could walk where ever you pleased, work on your jumpshot on the court, and tour the Sixers' locker room. One of the interesting aspects about the locker room was that the only lockers that weren't completely empty (other than a jersey hanging for show) belonged to MCW, Nerlens, and Jason Richardson. I know that it probably means nothing, but I thought it was slightly strange that Thad's locker had absolutely nothing in it. The coolest find was in MCW's locker. He has a poster that has every NBA referee's face and name, and a post-it note reminding him to find out the refs before each game to learn all their names and faces.
Brett Brown was completely wired up to chat with a crowd of maybe 200 people. He displayed more passion raving about Nerlens and Hollis Thompson than the entire Heat team laid on the court during their NBA Finals game last evening. He started by talking about the new practice facility being built in Camden, and likened it to the Spurs' new facilities when he started there as a player development guy in the early 2000s. He stressed the importance of growing our kids, and that "we're gonna experience some pain again next year, but we're gonna raise 'em...they're our draft picks...we get 7 of 'em." Coach Brown also talked about how they will be heading to both summer leagues this July. "Why not" was his response when asked why they were going to both. He made it sound like Nerlens would be attending both leagues and probably playing every other game. My favorite tidbit that came out during the talk, was that Hollis Thompson has apparently put on 10 pounds already this summer to help him on the defensive end of the floor.
It seems to me that everyone understands that we're attempting to build something very special here, and that it could take a little time. But just hearing the excitement in Brett Brown's voice when he spoke about Timmy and Manu and Tony, and then understanding that he truly believes if we get the right players and grow them the right way that we could someday have a franchise that other cities envy like the Spurs gave me goosebumps.