I haven’t written for the site in a while. I’ve certainly never written anything this emotional. But leaving the Nets game Friday night, I had so much to say. For the first time in my life, I need a break from this team.
I’ve seen dark times with the Philadelphia 76ers. I caught almost every game of the 10-72 season. I watched the Kawhi shot fall and, through all my disappointment, thought “better luck next year.” I bought into the Al Horford team as soon as it was conceived, and I bought right back in during the bubble, where we went on to get swept by the Boston Celtics.
I went to Game 1 of the Hawks series, paying good money to watch the Sixers come out lifeless and fall down 26 points before mounting a futile comeback. I paid even more to see Game 5, when the Sixers went up 26 points, just to watch them blow it in historic fashion. I sat there and watched The Pass, next to my dad, the reason I love the Sixers as much as I do, as Father’s Day became ruined in a way I couldn’t control.
After all of that, I still wasn’t out on this team. I followed the ridiculous rumors all summer. I still bought in after the team’s second All-Star went MIA with no trade for a player to replace him. I talked myself into improved spacing making the team more fun. I liked our new role players. I believed enough to once again pay to watch this team play in person for the home opener.
And what did I get to see? Another brutal, lifeless collapse. I watched Danny Green, who spent the summer criticizing the fans, airball (like not even sniff the rim) on two crucial three-point attempts in the final minutes.
Before the game, I watched Joel Embiid address the arena, asking us to support the one guy who wasn’t there, who spent all summer trying to make us fans look as bad as possible. I thought about the situation we’re in. Being asked to buy into a player who wants no part of our city. Being told to “buckle in” by a President of Basketball Operations who went on the radio to inform every fan that he’s willing to carry his pissing contest with Rich Paul on for four more years.
Frankly, I don’t need this in my life.
Even in the toughest moments for the team, the Sixers had always been a fun escape for me. Right now, as I struggle to find my way though my first year of medical school, the Sixers have become nothing but an added source of stress.
I can’t explain why this meaningless second regular season game is the tipping point for me. But it is. I love Joel Embiid. I really enjoy many of the young guys on the team. But I can’t invest this much of my mental health in an organization that is trying to sell me on a best case scenario of creating a near copycat of last year’s group that came up way short, and a worst case scenario of having a max contract worth of dead cap during Joel Embiid’s prime.
Will I actually turn the Sixers off? Probably not. But that says more about my inability to quit watching this team than their worthiness of my time and money.
After all the off-court drama, the Sixers are disappointing in the same exact way. Maybe they’ll surprise me and pull off a huge move for a star, or at least assemble a group that understands and appreciates the extent to which we sacrifice our own well beings by pouring our hearts into their successes and failures. But I doubt it. Fool me 25 times, shame on me.