What a season it has been. As the last vestige of Sam Hinkie-obtained lottery picks has dried up (three years after he resigned), the Sixers exude the most promise the organization has shown in two decades. Joel Embiid, albeit with very glaring load management challenges, is a top 10 player in the NBA. Ben Simmons is crazy talented and in my humble opinion, is driven to improve. It took a Kawhi Leonard circus shot to end Philly’s second consecutive 50+ win season. Despite all the setbacks and all the speculation and all the drama, the Philadelphia 76ers are in a damn good situation. And as the team has grown, so have we at Liberty Ballers.
When I accepted the position of Managing Editor at LB in February of 2018, I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into. It was intimidating considering the sheer talent that had come before me — Bodner, Levin, Neubeck, Baumann, Clancy, Adair, Whittington, etc. — and the legacy they left behind. I had published only a handful of blog posts up until that point, but Seth Pollack gave me an opportunity to prove myself. I had never managed a team of writers. I had never been credentialed to cover anything in my life. And quite honestly, I did not understand the game of basketball nearly as thoroughly as many of my counterparts or even the community members of this site. I had only a passion for writing and Sixers basketball, a handful of contributors and LB alumni (shout out Sohil Doshi, Roy Burton and Sean O’Connor, all of whom have shared very valuable wisdom and helped me skirt mistakes), and a group of the smartest, most intense basketball fans on the internet (the aforementioned LB community).
Since February 2018, much has changed. Our team has grown tremendously, featuring individuals who still to this day blow me away with the work they put out — this writing staff is so f’ing talented, I’m very lucky to have them. My editorial staff of Sean Kennedy and Dave Early has grounded me in ways I don’t have the time to explain (Me: Hey *insert stupid idea* might be a good idea, Sean: Ehhhh... let’s tweak this). This site wouldn’t consistently churn out the content it does without them. I personally have grown in ways I’m still trying to understand and further cultivate. I’ve learned what it means to be properly skeptical. I’ve learned to value criticism — this community truly has made me a smarter and better person, I can’t thank you enough. I’ve learned to admit when I’m wrong. And after dealing with a severe bout of a sort of apathetic depression and working up the desire to take the first step in improving my mental health, this site was one of the few things that I chose to keep in my life through that process. Liberty Ballers has become part of my identity.
After my first full season here, I’m so proud of each and every contributor at this site. I think we’ve found some success (though I promise, we will not get complacent, I/we still have goals that exceed the work we’ve done so far). But ultimately, that depends on you, the readers and community members. I hope we’ve provided you a destination for informed basketball analysis and discussion. It’s the least we could do. You’ve stuck with us, you’ve provided feedback, and you are ultimately what gives this operation purpose. Thank you for being a part of Liberty Ballers this season. (And a very special thank you to those of you who introduced yourself to me at our viewing party on Opening Night. You know who you are — now, know that meant a lot to me.)
I’m excited to see what next season brings the Sixers and the Philly faithful and Liberty Ballers. But we’ll also be here all summer. When I’m not in the office or down in lovely Manahawkin, just over the bridge from my shore point of choice, LBI, I’ll be thinking Sixers basketball, just like the rest of you. We’ve got a lot planned for the off-season — player reviews, draft preparation, free agency debates, game re-watches, anything you might suggest in the comments. Continue to stick with us, and we’ll continue giving you our best.
Thank you all.
P.S. Don’t forget to thank your mods, tmendinsky10 and Dave in NYC. They’ve been unsung heroes in moderating the community.
P.P.S. Huge shout out to Grandma Helen for the Attic. It makes my life a lot easier to be able to go to one place to find out what’s being said and written about the Sixers outside of LB.