The year was 1996. There was an awkward 11-year-old kid in the suburbs of Philly. He had gold-framed glasses, buck teeth and a bowl cut.
His favorite basketball team was the Sixers. They had done nothing to pique his interest, trading away players like Charles Barkley and drafting guys like Shawn Bradley and Sharone Wright.
Then, with the first overall pick, the Sixers selected a guard out of Georgetown by the name of Allen Iverson.
And everything changed.
The awkward kid was outside practicing every day, trying to perfect the Iverson crossover. He begged his parents for OG Reebok Questions and every subsequent pair of Answers. Iverson was different, and growing up the kid felt different. Even though Iverson was the coolest and he … well … wasn’t, he identified with A.I. as an outsider doing things his own way.
Spoiler alert: That kid was me.
While I’ve done traditional sports journalism for the last six years at NBC Sports Philadelphia and 97.3 ESPN, it’s time to start doing things a little differently. That is why I’m taking on the role of Community Producer for Liberty Ballers.
I’m humbled knowing what came before me. Liberty Ballers was a go-to during The Process years. The current group of contributors is immensely talented — and I’m on the lookout for more talent. It’s a team and a product I believe in.
With that said, I’m not coming in complacent with the site as it is. The goal is to make this a one-stop shop for all your Sixers needs — breaking news, film reviews, podcasts, trade rumors, in-depth analysis on Joel Embiid Instagram posts that are cryptic as hell. SB Nation believes in the potential of Liberty Ballers. Obviously, so do I.
On top of that, this is a community. We want you involved. We want feedback. We want to interact with you, whether it’s in the comments section, on social media or (hopefully!) in-person events.
Whether you were the awkward kid that practiced his crossover every day, a serious hooper or you’ve never picked up a basketball in your life, there is room for you here.
Welcome to Liberty Ballers. Sam Hinkie was right.