Special guest post by FanSince09
Back in February, I decided I was fed up with Sixers CEO Adam Aron on Twitter, and launched into what would forever be known as "The Rant." (*) Angry Sixers fans praised me, the lamestream Sixers apologist media rushed
to try to shoot holes in my arguments, but one thing was made clear by
everyone: Adam Aron couldn't just ignore me. But for days, it seemed
like he'd be content with just ignoring the issue. There was no direct
response to me, even after another assault known as The Rant 2. (**)
(*) nobody calls it this
(**) nobody called it this
Fast forward to March 2nd. I was in Vegas fighting with a certain
hotel's sports book because they wouldn't let me bet on how many games
Hammels would lose in 2013 (***), when I got a
very special twitter notification: @SixersCEOAdam is now following you. Within minutes, I got the DM: "You say you care about the Sixers.
Why don't you join me for lunch one day in the next week or two and we
can talk about your views in person"
(***) "All of them" is the safe bet
A few thoughts immediately raced through my mind. Is it a trap? Is
a Philly sports team going to have me whacked? Then the trolls remorse
set in. I was pretty vicious, I may have even legitimately hurt this
guy's feelings. This sat heavily on my mind for the duration of my
trip. Do I take him up on this offer? Do I break bread with a guy who I
spent days viciously tearing apart? But then I realized that all of my
doubts were stupid. You can't say no to a free lunch.
The meeting was set, and would go down in history as "The Summit."
For the first time, a Philly sports team was willing to sit down with
the man who had established himself as the true voice of the fan base
I couldn't risk meeting Aron at the WFC, because that was his home
turf. In fact, I heard that they had one of those old style toilets
like in the Godfather. The meeting had to be on neutral ground, and I
had just the place in mind.
On March 20th, I found myself sitting on the 101 in Los Angeles in
the worst traffic I'd ever experienced. Nobody had warned me that there
was bad traffic in LA, and now here I was, late for my lunch with Adam
Aron. Sure, this gave me some advantage. Adam was sweating, would I
show up? Was I an actual person? Was the entire Sixers fan base going
to walk into the door? Was I just some a-hole who sucked at time
I walked into the restaurant 35 minutes late, but Adam was still
there. Though he'd never seen a photo of me, he recognized me
immediately. I was rocking my favorite ill shirt, along with my
Mitchell and Ness Sixers throwback hoodie, and it was clear that stories
of my swass preceded me. I greeted him formally.
"You must be FanSince09."
When getting a
rich dude to buy you a free lunch, there are a lot of ways to play it.
You can order the most expensive thing on the menu, sure, but that's a
rookie move. You could order the least expensive thing on the menu, or a
salad, but then you risk insulting your host. I had memorized the
menu the night before. The moment I sat down, I ordered a turkey burger
with sweet potato fries. This was a pure power move that clearly
impressed Adam. I was a man who knew exactly what he wanted. The turkey
burger was awesome, too. Seasoned nicely without trying to make it
taste like beef. The bun had the right amount of grill to it, and the
sweet potato fries were crispy, but not too crispy. I completely housed
that thing in about 10 minutes, washed down with a couple DCs. Totally
right, the actual conversation. So anyway, for the next 45 minutes, we
went over The Rant. Adam remembered all of it and then some. There
was some refuting, some agreeing, some outright scolding. I learned a
lot about Adam Aron. He knows what people are saying. He gets the
anger and the frustration with the season. He claimed over and over
that the goal was to build a winning team. We discussed the pros and
cons of tanking, and he asked me what I'd do. I gave him all of my
best ideas, and if the Sixers go on to build a championship team, you
I didn't promise that I would change my tune or change my opinion,
but what I did assure Adam is that ultimately, I wanted to see the
Sixers build a winner. I wanted to see my fellow fans rally around the
Sixers. The troll's remorse set back in. This guy reads every single
tweet that is sent to him. He doesn't coordinate with the marketing
department, he doesn't have a list of social media talking points,
he's not working in tandem with the official Sixers social media team.
This somewhat explains the disconnect there seems to be with the Sixers
when it comes to social media, but it also made me realize how strange
twitter can be. When you're not looking at someone face to face, you
have a chance to go too far. I kept my rant based on basketball alone,
but there are people who tweet at Adam every day with the worst
personal attacks, threats and insults. When it's some "social media
guru" running the account, they know it just comes with the territory
and ignore it, but in the case of Adam Aron, he sees it all and takes it
to heart (especially the threat from The Iron Sheik). If there was a
lesson to be learned from all of this, it's to consider the target of
future rants and realize that they do see it.
Our discussion continued all the way to the Staples Center, where
Adam had secured some tickets to the Sixers-Clippers game for me. I
told Adam what I expected from the Sixers that night: They would lose
by less than 30. The Sixers went on to play like hot garbage while I
located celebrities sitting court side -- Bruce Jenner looks like he drank
from the wrong grail (*****) -- but sensing that I was in the stands, they were able to rally
and only lose by 29.
(*****) Khloe looks less like Godzilla in
Adam and I spoke again after the game, then parted ways. He said
some things I agreed with, like the fact that there's no guarantee that
tanking would help the team. He asked me if I really thought the fan
base wanted to suffer through another 5 years of unwatchable basketball
on the off chance that they would get the next Durant in the draft. He also said some things I completely disagreed with, like Spencer Hawes
being a somewhat OK basketball player. There was no epic changing of
opinions, nobody's heart grew three sizes. While the team continues to
stink, and the Sixers presence on Social Media continues to be an
absolute disaster, I feel that Adam and I at least got a sense of where
the other was coming from. He knew I'd continue to be the voice of are
fanbase, while I knew he'd continue doing what he felt was best for the
During the ride home, I thought about the night. Should I be easier
on the Sixers? Should I be calmer on twitter? I don't know, and I
But one thing was completely obvious: that was an awesome turkey burger, and more teams need to buy me lunch.
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