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Good-Bye Andre Iguodala

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Note: I wrote this last week in the event that Andre Iguodala was traded. Obviously he wasn't, but I thought it'd be cool to post as is. Just think of it as the It's a Wonderful Life edition. 

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Dear Andre,

I still remember the day we met. The date was June 24th, 2004. I had just finished my first year of high school, and was doing my best to enjoy a job-free, worry-free summer in my hometown of Las Vegas. The only problem was, it was summertime... in Las Vegas. At the time, the only thing hotter than the 120 degree temperature was Beyonce's new hit single, Crazy in Love

To avoid the scorching heat, my summer days normally consisted of fantasy baseball, sleeping, eating, Madden 2003, Baseball Tonight and The Best Damn Sports Show Period. This day, however; was far from normal. Twas the day of the NBA Draft.

The NBA Draft comes only once a year. It's a day of hope, of dreams -- a day even Clippers fans can enjoy.

Unlike drafts nowadays -- when you're force-fed an abundance of information by thousands of blogs, podcasts and tweets -- the 2004 draft was a relative unknown for me. I wanted the Sixers to draft either Shaun Livingston or Sebastian Telfair. Besides a few college standouts like Josh Childress and Emeka Okafor, Livingston and Telfair were the only prospects I knew anything about. And all I really knew about Telfair was that his highlight reel excited me more than Beyonce's music video.

The Raptors selected Rafael Araujo with the 8th pick and the Sixers were officially on the clock. That's when I realized Sebastian Telfair was still on the board, and I became ecstatic. Visions of crossovers and behind-the-back passes danced in my head.

Then the Sixers selected you, Andre Iguodala, from Arizona University.

Wait, what? Eeg-wha-da-who? How could the Sixers could pass up such a phenom like Sebastian Telfair? He was related to Stephon Marbury for goodness sake! It was even worse that they passed him up for you. After all, you only averaged 13 points per game for a mediocre Arizona team.

I was positive the Sixers would regret passing on Telfair for the next decade.

Blame it on my lack of knowledge, blame it on my love for 'And 1' mixtapes, blame it on my youth, blame it on the ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-alcohol. Whatever the reason, I was wrong -- very wrong. Now it's obvious the Sixers made the right choice. 

That was five and a half years ago, and I'll always remember it as the day our relationship began -- just like today, I'll remember as the day it all came to an end.

Our relationship has had as many ups and downs as Sammi and Ronnie's during an episode of Jersey Shore. When the Sixers were playing well, "smushing" opponents, and making playoff runs I thought you were one of the best players in the league. When the Sixers were losing, I questioned your superstar abilities and wondered if they could every win a championship with you as their best player.

I admit, I was fickle to a fault. I went from one extreme to another because I was caught up in the moment. Being a sports fan isn't easy you know? But now that we've both moved on, I thought it'd be a good time to express my true, and final feelings about you.

The Good

Over the years you've provided me with hundreds of 'jump out ya seat' dunks, and you rank second on my list of 'most exciting players in the open court'. You've entertained me with a plethora of beautiful passes, including some fancy behind-the-backers. Your game-winners against the Lakers and Magic were -- no pun intended -- magical. Whether it was Kobe Bryant or Derrick Rose, I was always confident you would lock your man down with the game on the line. You handled the ball like a point guard and rebounded like a center, and you were a warrior on the court -- missing only six games in five and a half years.

The Bad

I cringed every time you took a jump shot. In a word, it was ugly. This year 73 percent of your shots were jumpers, as opposed to 64 percent last year. I'd be happy with your ugly jumpers if they went in, but you're only shooting 41 percent. During "crunch time" (4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points) your jump shot percentage rises from 73 to 78, yet your shooting percentage drops to 39 percent. Your free throw percentage also drops from 76 to 70 during "crunch time". Quite simply, you shouldn't handle the ball with the game on the line. I also hate when you complain after every non-foul call, and demand the ball at the end of games, despite your "crunch time" reputation.

The Myth: I think you suck.

I don't think you suck; I just don't think you're a top-tier NBA player. There are very few top-tier NBA players and not every team is lucky enough to have one. The teams who have one are the teams competing for championships year-after-year, and I don't think a team will ever compete for a championship with you as their best player.

I think you're a very good player, a perfect sidekick and a second tier NBA player. But in no way do I think you suck.

Maxim comes out with its top 100 every year. The top tier arguably ends at number 18 with Marisa Miller, so someone as beautiful as Scarlett Johansson finds herself in the second tier. Does that mean Maxium thinks she's ugly? No way! Point is, I'm allowed to think you're not a top 18 NBA player without thinking you suck, okay? Okay!

(I'm upset I didn't find an excuse to post a picture of Jessica Burciaga with my Maxium example.) 

I've been advocating a trade of you for weeks, but it has nothing to do your performance or the misconception that you're vastly overpaid. It's not fault Sixers management made all the wrong moves and failed to put the right players around you. It's not your fault you're the highest-paid player on a mediocre roster. It's not your fault you're became the "superstar" by default. And it's not your fault the Sixers are terrible. However; since the franchise is a complete fail, and you're the only asset with serious value, packaging you with the untradeables -- Elton Brand or Sam Dalembert -- is the only way to truly blow it up. And it would show Sixers fans that management is admitting their mistakes, and starting from scratch. More importantly, blowing it up would give Sixers fans a definitive plan to back 100 percent. The Sixers as is, have no plan, unless being indefinitely mediocre is a plan.

Both you and Elton Brand are locked up through 2014 and 2013 respectively. This leaves no financial flexibility to add a superstar, and we've already established that no NBA is winning a championship with you and an aging Elton Brand as their two best players. Unless a small miracle occurs and the Sixers draft a franchise-altering prospect in the next four years, you're stuck, watching the prime of your career waste away on a mediocre team.

Don't lie, a trade would be good for the both of us.

How you'll fit on a contender

You'll gain a ton of respect and recognition around the league -- the same way Pau Gasol did when he was paired with Kobe. All your weaknesses would essentially disappear. You'd take a lot less contested jumpers, and you'd handle the ball less during "crunch time". You'd be able to focus on defending the other team's best perimeter player, running the fast break, and being one of the best rebounding wings in the league. And I bet if you were relieved of your superstar duties in Philly, your defense would improve to elite status. 

What I'll miss

I'll miss your viscous slams. I'll miss when you lockdown the other team's best player on the final possession. I'll miss your court vision, and behind the back passes. I'll miss your ability to grab a "man's rebound". I'll miss when you rack up the stat we named after you -- the "Iguodala" -- when you grab a defensive rebound, take it coast-to-coast and slam on someone's skull. I'll miss the feeling you gave me when you hit the game-winner against the Lakers. I'll miss the way you make Marc Zumoff feel. I'll miss your fake commercials. I'll miss watching you 82 times a year, and I'll miss the fact that we never won a championship together. 

But I'll always have the memories.

Good-bye Andre Iguodala. I wish you nothing but the best, and I'll be rooting for you.

The Ronnie to your Sammi, 

Jordan Sams