It was pretty clear during the 76ers first game of the season, that basketball is relevant in Philadelphia again. Not only is it relevant again, but there are a few factors that could make this team the talk of the town this season. The difference in this seasons opener and last years home opener were worlds apart. The fans are back into the team and going to games are fun again. The Wells Fargo Center was rocking during the opener and the team showed they loved playing in this atmosphere.
Since the 2001 team that reached the NBA Finals, there was a steady decline in the years that followed. It was rare for the team to qualify for the playoffs, and if they did it was usually after a .500 season and that was followed by a first round exit. Not only was the team not winning but nothing about them was likeable or exciting and games were not fun to attend.
Not only was the last decade hard to watch, but the Sixers usually have stiff competition for the attention of Philly fans. Directly the Flyers, and I think we all know why that won’t be an issue this season. Along with the Flyers, the Eagles usually take up most of the attention in the fall and winter, but at this point in the season, many fans are fed up with them. There is still a chance that the Eagles could turn their season around and make a run, but right now it’s not looking good for the birds. The Phillies season ended roughly and all there is to look forward to is the hot stove. With these factors, the Sixers are primed to win over the hearts of Philadelphia.
Along with these factors, something about this team makes them easy to love. There are some features of this team that are similar to that of the 2008 Phillies, a team that was so easy to love even before winning the series. Just like that ’08 team, these Sixers are built around a core of young players that are easy to like. Along with that, the Sixers’ style of play is exciting and fun to watch even to the fans who are not the most hardcore followers.
The new ownership group also has to receive some credit, as they have done a great job creating a buzz around this team in their first two years. They have had a big social media presence, which has caught the eye of many fans, along with the public press conference for Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson. They have also made games more affordable and fun for fans, creating a great setting in the Wells Fargo Center.
Just from talking to friends and looking through twitter during the first game of the season, it was clear that people are excited about the team, and the players have features about them that will make fans have multiple favorite players, which hasn’t happened in some time. Spencer Hawes and his creative hair style, Nick Young and his swag and of course Andrew Bynum’s superstar status are just a few of the things these players exciting.
It seems as if all these factors are coming together at the perfect time for this to be an incredibly exciting and fun year for the team, management and fans alike. No one is expecting a parade this year, but there is no doubt that people are excited about this team again. Hopefully this can continue for years to come, and with the young players and finally a solid front office, this city can become a basketball town again.