Sixers fans of a certain age, mostly my own or a bit younger, haven't really associated Sixers basketball with positive viewing experiences for a while. The team has struggled with attendance problems primarily associated with the lack of a marketable product and mediocrity since Allen Iverson's prime, which is when most of your resident bloggers became sadistic Sixers fanatics.
Honestly most of us wanted to talk about Phillies games.
But there were good moments during that time, too, and even before then. Here, we're taking you back to some better days which, hopefully, will soon come again.
First up, Jake Fischer remembers Andre Iguodala thinking of his son.
I had a wonderful time at Game 6 vs Chicago in 2012. I literally cried tears of joy as Iggy jumped up on that scorer's table. I twisted my ankle when my dad yanked me to leave and try and beat the traffic and I didn't feel it at all.
Jake Pavorsky and I both attended Game 4 against the Bulls in that same year and brought that game up as our favorite. Not too dissimilar to a random internet meetup I chronicled here, I went with an internet friend I met in person for the first time who went on to become famous for writing for ZWR and becoming Spike Eskin's intern with the Awesome New Combos.
Justin F. goes back to the Liberty Ballers meetup, 2012 edition. 2014 is looking like December 19th, so mark your calendars. We'll have more on this soon.
As for games themselves, I'm a 24-year old Sixers fan who never attended a game during the 2000-01 season. In that sense, the best fan experience I've had is watching a mediocre or poor team not completely shit themselves when I attended, an occurrence few and far between.
But in December 2012 I had the great pleasure of meeting my wonderful LB co-writers during LB Day at the Sixers, or whatever it was we decided to call it then, I don't remember but my guess probably is not right because it does not contain a hidden poop joke. Everyone was there from Levin to Spike Eskin to Sohil, and we all celebrated Lou Williams's return to Philadelphia. Dave bought everyone a round of beers at Xfinity Live, and a good time was had by all. Oh, and the Sixers did not completely shit themselves that night.
Me (age 12), my brother (age 10) and my dad (age 47) attended the finals game expecting nothing and for the majority of the game the Lakers (Shaq) absolutely dominated the Sixers. The environment, as it had been the entire playoffs, was absolutely electric regardless, and I remember holding my hands over my ears because they actually hurt from the noise. To put the cherry on top, the Sixers made a stirring comeback in the 4th quarter bringing the lead down to single digits if I remember correctly, but alas, it was not meant to be. To recap, I saw Shaq and AI at there absolute primes go toe-to-toe, I saw one of the most dominant teams of all time win a championship, and it was the most electric Philadelphia sports atmosphere I've ever experienced...
Derek Bodner stays in the 2001 playoffs, where he has fond memories of a series we actually won:
My best in-person memory for the Sixers is game 5 of the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals. With the series tied 2-2, game 5 was huge. The Sixers were down 15 at one point in the first half, but made a great come back. Eric Snow took a midrange pull-up jump shot that would have had Sam Hinkie screaming bloody murder about expected value, but it somehow went in to put the Sixers up 3 with just around 30 seconds left in the game. But, after a Milwaukee make Aaron McKie would go on to miss two free throws after being intentionally fouled (wtf?! Stunned. Devastated. Cursed. I had no doubt it was over), and the Bucks had the ball with 13 seconds left and a chance to win.
Then Aaron McKie tipped the ball away from Glenn Robinson! But before you even had a chance to get excited the ball bounced right back into Big Dog's hands, and he was left wide open on the baseline from 8 feet. One of the best midrange shooters in the game with a gimme to win the game and put the Bucks in the drivers seat. But it bounced off front rim. Somehow, with less than a second left Ray Allen got a tip, but that found a way miss as well.
The game was great. Not only because of what it led to, but also because of the range of emotions. The despair after being down big in the first half, the hope while the team was on its way back, and the incredible electricity in the building once they took the lead. The ecstasy after Snow hit his jumper, then the despair after McKie missed those free throws. The rollercoaster was too much to handle. Then all that finally led to one of the more nerve-racking three second spans I've ever experienced. By the time the game was over I couldn't even react. I must have stood there in silence for what felt like a minute before erupting in celebration.
Dave Rueter shows his age only a little bit, remembering Marc Zumoff's favorite game to call:
Game 3, 1999 vs Orlando. Iverson had 10 steals. Place was bonkers.
And finally, Roy Burton waxes poetic on the Hornacek-Lang Sixers, which I didn't even know was possible:
My memory of that night is rather vivid because it was part of an all-night retreat with my Christian youth group. There was a gospel concert scheduled to take place after the game, and the heathen side of me got excited when the game went into overtime, which was soon followed by a second and, ultimately, a third extra session.
More overtimes meant less singing, but there came a point around the 11th minute of free basketball where I started rooting for history. My teenage mind (incorrectly) assumed that there had never been a four-overtime game in the history of the NBA, so despite the valiant effort by Jeff Hornacek (32/10/8) and Andrew Lang (18 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks in 45 gritty minutes), I wanted nothing more than to spend a few extra moments in the Spectrum, just to say that I had been at a game that led off SportsCenter.
Sadly, Glen Rice's errant free throw attempt with five seconds left both ended my dream and started the gospel concert well before I was mentally ready for either event to occur. I should have known better than to leave my hopes in the hands of Kevin Loughery and Doug Moe.
The overall lesson from this post: never, ever leave your hopes in the hands of Doug Moe.