Tag Archives: Basketball

Here are your 2015-2016 Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers have released it’s 15 man roster leading into their first game of the season. Many Philadelphia fans and pundits are going into the season with expectations at rock bottom [ESPN Power Rankings], but maybe there is some hope for a 7th or 8th seed? Maybe not, but read ahead and follow me on this…

Although the average age of players on the team is 24 years old, over half of the players already have experience within the organization. The new face of the team, Jahlil Okafor, will have a big opportunity to show and prove why he was selected top 3 in the most recent draft. The young culture of the team can potentially create a necessary bond and chemistry, which could lead to a few pleasant surprises.

Let’s hope last night was a sign of good things to come for Jahlil:

…Or maybe I am being the typical Philadelphia fan, finding optimism and discovering every bit of sunlight through the cracks in those brick walls our franchises always seem to run into.

Read up on the 15 players who will be representing your Philadelphia 76ers this season, here via NBA.com :  http://www.nba.com/sixers/news/beat-opening-night-roster-recap#

Guest Contribution by Tre Banks

For more exclusive coverage, ticket giveaways, features, and live updates follow @215mag on twitter, and Instagram.

Red Bull Midnight Run

On Saturday, July 13, Girard College was the site for the Philadelphia edition of Red Bull’s Midnight Run competition.

The goal of the summer-long tour is to find the best basketball players in each of nine cities across the United States: Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, New York, New Orleans, Houston, Indianapolis and Los Angeles.

The eight best players at each stop will be hand-selected to represent their city at the Red Bull Midnight Run Finals at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY this December. Interestingly enough, there’s no prize money on the line: The only thing that’s at stake is each city’s reputation.

Pride also happened to be a motivating factor last weekend at Girard College, and with Hot 107.9’s DJ Damage providing the soundtrack for the evening, the action was fast-paced – far more intense than your average summertime pick-up game.

The participants consisted of former area high school and college standouts, professionals who currently make a living playing overseas, and even a few streetball legends. The most notable player in the building was 6’5″ swingman Jarrett Kearse, who once starred at Simon Gratz and West Virgina before a stint on the AND1 mixtape tour.

With players boasting nicknames such as Amistad, Steroid, Thor and The Predator, there was definitely no shortage of personalities in the building. And although we’re still a few months away from finding out which city has the best ballers in America, it’s clear that the eight players selected to represent Philly in the finals will do the City of Brotherly Love proud.

50 Shades of Dre

All-Star. Olympian. Overpaid. Overrated.

Aloof. Enigmatic. Polarizing. Underappreciated.

Andre Iguodala has been called all of those things – as well as other, unprintable things – ever since he arrived in Philadelphia in the summer of 2004. So perhaps it was only fitting that the city’s most mercurial athlete was five time zones away when the Sixers decided to trade him last week.

The four-team deal that ultimately shipped Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers could have easily been consummated at any point before the 2012-13 NBA season. But with each of the franchises eager to pull the trigger before any of its fellow trade partners got cold feet, Philadelphia agreed to send Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets.

Three days later, the former Sixer helped the U.S. Men’s National Team capture a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.

So to recap: Less than 72 hours before the greatest athletic achievement in his life, Iguodala was traded away by the only team that he had ever known in his professional career. But trades in the NBA are relatively commonplace. The more important story is the divorce between a man and the city that – in contrast to its still-infamous tourism campaign – never loved him back.

The split between Andre Iguodala and Philadelphia should be amicable for both parties: It isn’t as if this was a case of unrequited love.

For the better part of eight seasons, Sixers’ fans have been anything but silent in their disdain for the 6’6″ swingman. Professional basketball hasn’t often been a topic of conversation on the Philadelphia sports talk radio airwaves in recent years, but whenever it was, Iguodala typically was the lightning rod for most callers’ vitriol.

Things changed only slightly with the advent of social media. 82 nights a year – or 66 nights during a lockout-shortened campaign – thousands of hands throughout the Delaware Valley remained poised above keyboards and smartphone screens during Sixers’ games. What Iguodala did on the defensive end was unimportant: Whenever he missed an ill-advised three-pointer, or failed to convert a pair of free throws, 140-character missives began to flood Twitter timelines all across the region.

After the Sixers fell in the first round to the Miami Heat in the 2011 Eastern Conference Playoffs, Iguodala was asked if he expected to return to the team the following year. His response? “I expect to be in the NBA.”

One day later, Iguodala skipped his end-of-year exit interview with Sixers’ head coach Doug Collins. If Iguodala’s goal was to anger an already hostile fan base, then he couldn’t have played his cards any better.

But in true enigmatic fashion, there were plenty of times when he got it right. Before the start of the 2011-12 season, when a group of fans came together for an “End Of Lockout” party, Iguodala showed up, even though he was under no obligation to do so. He shook hands, he posed for pictures… he probably would have kissed a few babies if any were present. It was a genuine display of goodwill for a group of supporters who truly loved the Sixers and the game of basketball.

That one gesture began the reconciliation process between a man and his fans. Not much changed on the court: In fact, it appeared as if Iguodala made a conscious decision to shoot even less than he had in the past.

Yet last season, Iguodala had perhaps his best year ever, culminating in his first-ever All-Star appearance. He led the Sixers to a 35-31 record – the team’s first winning season in seven years – and provided us with one of the most thrilling endings in Philadelphia sports history.

Last May, in the closing moments of Game 6 of the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, the 76ers trailed the Chicago Bulls by a single point. With 7.7 seconds left in regulation, Iguodala corralled a missed Omer Asik free throw and drove the length of the court with reckless abandon.

He was fouled with 2.2 seconds to go, and in front of a sold out Wells Fargo Center crowd – very few of them optimists at that moment – Iguodala calmly sank two free throws, securing Philadelphia’s first playoff series victory since 2003.

Shortly after the final horn, Iguodala jumped on top of the scorer’s table, posed, and bathed in the admiration from a sea of Sixers’ fans.

“I don’t know how you could write a better script,” said Collins during the post-game press conference. “Dre has gone through a lot here and I told him after the game that no one deserves more than you do to have this moment.”

And in that moment, something of a truce was formed between Andre Iguodala and the city of Philadelphia. The two neighborhood kids who never seemed to get along had finally made peace with one another.

Three months later, those two game-winning free throws are little more than a distant memory. One of those neighborhood kids is now headed halfway across the country, and his replacement (Andrew Bynum) is already more popular than the old kid ever was.

Andre Iguodala never gave us what we wanted while he was here, but in leaving, the Sixers – and their fans – got the franchise player that they’ve long wished for.

The 76ers will open the 2012-13 season against the Denver Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center. There will be some sort of ceremony to honor Iguodala before the game, and most fans in attendance will give him his proper respect. Ironically enough, Iguodala may be cheered more that night than he ever was while he wore a Sixers’ uniform.

Perhaps Andre Iguodala isn’t the only one that we should be calling enigmatic after all.