You're not going to find the 76ers in the Top 5 of many lists this offseason. Unless it's a list for potential Top 5 picks in the 2014 draft or maybe teams who are the furthest under the salary floor. In Hinkie we trust!
But fret not Sixers fans. You have a new reason to puff out your chest in the month of August, and it doesn't involve Adam Aron, Andrew Bynum's hair of the ghost of Jason Richardson. (In fairness, the Sixers' floor spacing was substantially better with J-Rich than without J-Rich last year, and I feel a strange, sincere and wholly inexplicable yearning to pay him the $6.6 million he could command by exercising his 2014-15 option).
More to the point, Grantland NBA aficionado Zach Lowe, as a follow up to his highly controversial "Let's give the Pelicans" a nickname treatise, has compiled a list of the National Basketball Association's best team names from No. 30 to No. 1.
And at No. 2 -- much like in the 2010 draft (I'm practically giddy about the impending Evan Turner-Sam Hinkie "hey, how about my $8.7 million qualifying offer?" meeting) -- your team, your town, your ... Philadelphia 76ers.
What a magical nickname — a combination of numbers and letters that sounds so nice, with all those "S" sounds. It carries a shorthand in "Sixers" that is just as good, evokes the city's monumental place in U.S. history, and stands out as one of the great creative nicknames in sports.
The name is obviously a reference to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776, an event worth loud and proud commemoration, and "Seventy-Sixer" has the Knickerbocker effect of working as a shorthand for people from Philadelphia. Most major highways that run through and around the city include the number "76," the Liberty Bell is there, the Founders signed the Constitution there, and the city served as the nation's capital at times during and after the American Revolution.
In other words: Go crazy with the kick-ass historical references, Philly. You deserve it. The inherent patriotism of the name has allowed the Sixers to play with red, white, and blue color schemes and to toss some flag elements into their logo designs. The minimalist white basketball with blue trim, a red "7," and a circle consisting of 13 stars (for the original 13 colonies) is high basketball art.
Alas, the Sixers have struggled to come up with a workable mascot — the downside of the Knickerbocker-style name. The team mercy-killed Hip-Hop the sunglasses-wearing rabbit after the lockout, sending out a bogus press release indicating Hip-Hop had "fallen in love" and left the franchise — not all that different from the time Poochie died on the way back to his home planet. They then asked fans to choose a new mascot form three options — a generic goofy dog (Poochie II?), a basketball-playing moose (getting warmer), and a hooping Ben Franklin (ding!), but the franchise ultimately chose none of the above. Get this right, and the Sixers may ascend to the throne.
No. 1 on the list? The Portland Trail Blazers, which is plainly acceptable to all of us who grew up playing Oregon Trail.
Alright, let's turn this into something. Give us favorite and/or least favorite names in sports.
This Deadspin piece from 2012 NBA Finals is a continued source of entertainment.
>>The Definitive Guide to NBA Team Names, Part 2 [Grantland]
>>The Definitive Guide to NBA Team Names, Part 1 [Grantland]
>>The Thunder Are A Matchup Nightmare For Copy Editors. So Is The Heat. [Deadspin]