Scott Kessler likes sports and writes about them, most for his Philadelphia Union news site www.brotherlygame.com (@brotherlygame). For sports, 80’s and 90’s references, and some unintentional comedy, you can find him on Twitter @scottdkessler.
(editor’s note: I found it surprising that of all things Scott chose to write about, it’s Sixers basketball. I’ve never known him to be much of a Sixers fan (as he mentions in the piece), and generally just assumed all he ever thinks about is soccer. I think my general passion for Sixers basketball worked in the same way his and the Sons Of Ben passion for Union soccer converted me into a first time fan of their sport. I just wanted to be clear, that since Scott mentions me in this, it was never like “YO SCOTT WRITE A PIECE ABOUT THE SIXERS AND HOW I TURNED YOU INTO A FAN OR ELSE.” – Spike)
Superficial To Familial
The Sixers have never been part of my sports world in the way that the Eagles and Phillies have, or even the Flyers. With the addition of the Union to the Philly sports community, the Sixers quickly dropped to the bottom of the major sports teams list for my personal enjoyment.
None of this was to be helped by my upbringing in a household where my father was at one point a Flyers season ticket holder, and has been an Eagles season ticket holder for nearly 30 years now. Birthday memories are filled with trips to watch the Flyers play, while common family trips to the Vet to watch the Phillies remain clear in my mind. Every now and then my dad’s friend wouldn’t be able to go to an Eagles game and my brother or I would get to go. The trend here is that the Sixers were never part of an effort by my father to get me to find a tangible connection to Philadelphia sports.
This season has changed my outlook on the Sixers, and a little bit on the NBA itself as well. Heading into the 2011-12 NBA season, I was excited to watch the Sixers. Not since the days of Allen Iverson scoring inside of whatever the Wells Fargo Center was called back then (was it First Union?) had I ever actually felt the want to watch the Sixers without prodding from a basketball fan friend. This is the first season in a very long time that I want to go to games and watch the team live, something that in past only happened when one of my parents was given free tickets through workplace clients.
Previously I simply did my Philly sports civic duty and read about the Sixers, listened to the unending dumb comments from hosts and callers alike on radio talk shows and had Spike Eskin attempt to sublimely convert me into someone who liked the team and the league through Twitter. For a while it worked out pretty well for me, but now that I care about the team I can’t believe I went through life as a Sixers zombie fan, per se.
Despite my dislike for the tall bearded man and the unhealthy desire to have a true number one on the Sixers, this team truly excites me, perhaps even more so than any team other than the Union. In fact, it has many parallels to the Union, with plenty of young players with high talent ceilings, coupled with a few necessary veteran starters, plus one or two players that make you cringe when they head into the game.
These Sixers just have something about them that makes them appealing, even to an anti-NBA person like myself. Perhaps its the group of likable characters that they have on the team, the blue collar effort that they seem to exhibit every game or maybe just because I like Evan Turner’s nickname “The Villian.” Whatever it may be, I’m hooked.
So count me in as one of those bandwagoners that Spike is welcoming onto the Sixers wagon this season, because I’m along for what should be a fun and wild ride this season.