Andre Iguodala made some interesting comments to CBS Sports the other day. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing that we didn't already know or assume to know -- just interesting because Iguodala typically plays the recluse rather than an outspoken gut-spiller. But honesty, despite the media's frequent pining for candidness, is discouraged when it upsets anyone.
And that's where we get this article from CSN's Neil Hartman, a generally nonpartisan member of the local media who has been around forever generally not bothering anyone. Well Neil took Andre's "parting words" a bit too much to heart and he's gotten his feathers all ruffled. Let's break it down.
Are you kidding me, Andre Iguodala? Really, you want to trash Philadelphia and head coach Doug Collins now that you are 1,700 miles away in Denver?
Nowhere did he "trash" Philadelphia, despite having great reason to. Most of the fans are fair-weather (if you are reading a Sixers blog, you are not fair-weather), the team has been mediocre for all eight of his seasons here, and he'd gotten lambasted for almost four years simply for signing a contract that the Sixers management offered him. Okay.
What motivated the former Sixer to lash out at a city he called home for eight years and a coach who did nothing but praise him as a player?
Despite both parties' attempts to keep things out of the media, some stories have slipped out on the divide between Iguodala and Collins. Sometimes guys don't like each other. Sometimes one of those guys is the other guy's coach. It happens. But they're both happy to get free and the only reason Doug hasn't said as much is because he has a responsibility to the public to uphold a positive persona.
Also, there was no "lash out".
Iguodala told CBS Sports that he didn’t enjoy basketball the last couple of years in Philadelphia. That’s strange because the team finally started winning some games the last few years with Iguodala supposedly the team’s best player. What does that say about Iguodala? Here’s a guy that was unhappy, and yet after years of losing, he was finally part of a successful team and he didn’t enjoy it.
Here Neil is being an armchair psychologist and does a bad job at it. In what way were the Sixers "a successful team"? Two years of Collins, one fluky first round playoff win, and more hovering around .500? The Sixers averaged 3 more wins per 82 games with Collins than they did the first 5 years of Iguodala's career. 3 wins. That's really "a successful team" now?
Then the Sixers went out and said they have maximized the potential of a roster with Iguodala on it. I absolutely agree with that sentiment, but if they're allowed to say that, then why the hell isn't Andre allowed to say he hasn't been happy?
It's the media's portrayal of players in which they have to be unflappably perfect human beings. Never getting upset when people say things about them or when their role is in question. Like just because they're making a lot of money (justifiably so), they don't get to have feelings or say anything aside from "I loved my time in Philadelphia". It's bullshit. It's hypocritical. It's silly.
Coaching Iguodala had to be a real challenge for Collins based on Iguodala’s comments that he was told not to shoot threes in the coach's first year. Iguodala was defiant last season and did it anyway, and was proud of his 39.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
I was asked by a Sixers executive when the NBA schedule was released how fans would treat Iguodala on opening night when Denver plays at the Wells Fargo Center on Halloween. The team is expected to recognize Iguodala's tenure with the Sixers during the game. Initially, I thought most fans would be respectful. However, after these comments I hope the Sixers rethink any kind of ceremony because it will not be pretty nor should it after Iguodala’s parting words.
Here's my favorite part. After making up a reality in which Iguodala slammed the Sixers, their fans, Anne Frank, the American Apple Pie, and endorsed communism, Hartman now campaigns the Sixers fans to boo him because of his "parting words". That's excellent stuff.
We constantly hear things from executives that "it's a business". It is. But for whatever reason, the paradigm is that of making players the enemy. The team has its fans, steadfast and loyal (or whatever), but the player is only out for himself and that should be condemned? What? He has absolutely no reason to be loyal to a team that made terrible decisions, a town that vilified him for not being Allen Iverson, or a coach who tried to limit his game and ripped him behind the scenes.
But yeah, Neil. Let's boo him on Opening Night. Let's ignore the eight terrific years he played in Philadelphia without complaining or demanding a trade or beating women or getting arrested or throwing teammates under the bus and let's boo his ass. The Sixers traded him and he doesn't like the way Doug Collins coaches (him and everyone else that has ever played for the guy) so let's let him have it.