Blah, Blah, Blah. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? Wrong! ‘Tis the next fucking ten minutes to be pissed off. I didn’t think it would come, but its apparent that it has. And anyone who knows me, knows why I am really angry. Actually, when I think about it, I am not as angry as I thought. I am saddened beyond belief. The 76ers have supposedly decided to part ways with Allen Iverson. It’s not official, but it’s about as official as it can get with out an actual trade occurring. With that said, I had been brought to tears while I was lying in bed the last two nights and I guess I wasn’t exactly sure why, wasn’t sure until now, atleast. I know it looks like the only thing that I care about is Philly sports and shit and that I don’t have anything else to worry about other than an athlete getting traded, but I don’t care. You wanna know why I don’t care? Because it’s not only about an athlete getting traded to me. It’s about an era getting traded away, about a part of me getting traded, and above all else, it’s about a part of my past getting traded. A part of my past that I cherish with every ounce of my heart. And that may not make sense to you, but again, I don’t care. Allen Iverson is more to the city of Philadelphia than another hood-rich, care-free, all-about-me attitude athlete, he is more than my favorite athlete of all time, and he is, in terms of me, a link to not only my childhood, but a link to my father as well.
The date was June 26th, 1996, just another normal summer day in the life of a child? No, not to me. That was the day that my dad was taking me to the Sixers draft party at the CoreStates Spectrum. Was I hyped or what? I loved basketball and I just started watching the 76ers the year before so I was ecstatic. Plus, believe it or not, my dad and I never really got to experience games in person other than a Phillies game or two so heading to the storied Spectrum was the sweetest deal to me. I was hoping to get a few players autographs and all and on the ride up there, my dad tells me that next year, all those players aren’t really gonna matter. And I’m like what? How could Jerry Stackhouse, Derrick Coleman, and Clarence Weatherspoon not matter? Then he turns to me and says ” ‘Cause the Sixers are getting Allen Iverson.” “Who the hell is that” I’m thinking in my head. Actually, I was probably more thinking “I wonder who that fine fellow is, I hope he is good.” But anyway, you get the point. My dad proceeds to tell me that he is the best player coming out of college and that he is gonna be the best in the NBA some day. I’m thinking, “better than Stackhouse?” So my dad tells me some more about Iverson until we finally get to the Spectrum. When we are there, we walk around a bit, taking in the scenery, grab some food, then head to the floor. That is when I heard it, loud and clear on the TitanTron….
“With the first pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select, Allen Iverson from Georgetown University.” And everyone at the Spectrum went nuts!
And me, being the little 10 year-old moron that I was, hopped right on that A.I. bandwagon rocking the white and the red jerseys, never looking back at my Stackhouse jersey, or my Stackhouse Fila sneakers. I guess I was a bit of a hater but I didn’t care ’cause the Sixers got a guy that my dad said was gonna be awesome. After waiting out the rest of the summer for the Sixers to eventually start, I was more ready than probably Iverson himself for opening night to take place. Ok, maybe not that ready, but you get me. When the season was ready to kick off, the hype was crazy. A.I. and Stack were ready to become the “backcourt of the future” as they had so famously been dubbed. I was so enthused I couldn’t contain myself. When my dad and I finally sat down to watch the opening game, it was unbelieveable. I never saw anyone run as fast as Iverson. Sure he was short as hell, but he could score too! Even more than Stackhouse. It was the best basketball game I ever saw at the time. The Sixers, however, eventually lost that opening game of the season to the Bucks but did A.I. make a statement or what? My dad again reiterated that he was gonna be a great player eventually and from then on, I was hooked.
And that is why the Sixers trading Allen Iverson means more to me than just the trade itself. My dad not only introduced me to my favorite player, he not only took me to the draft party that day, he not only sat with me to watch Allen Iverson’s first game in the NBA, but he told me that he was gonna be a great player one day. And that is in fact what Allen Iverson became, a GREAT player. I just wish my dad was around to watch his last game as a 76er with me.
And on another sad note, I just wanna say that it’s 2:24 a.m. on December 11th, 2006. A day that I haven’t wanted to be a part of since I can remember. A year ago today, was the last time that I physically spoke to my best friend Faulkner It was the last time that I got to see him and it is something that I think about all the time. It makes me happy just as much as it saddens me that I stopped to visit you that nite before I went back up to school. Granted I was only there for about 20 minutes, but I wouldn’t of had it any other way. We cracked a couple jokes together, talked about football, and above all, I told you that I loved you. And you said it right back, no hesitation. I am always gonna remember that and I hope you do too. I miss the hell out of you and I love you buddy.
Thanks for listening xanga, I can always count on you.
Oh yeah, Happy Holidays people