It's been one week since the Philadelphia 76ers' new ownership group addressed the Philadelphia media and fans to outline their hopes and goals as the heads of Sixers basketball.
Josh Harris & Co. even encouraged the public to log on to Sixers.com to make helpful suggestions about what they would like to see moving forward. The best 1,776 comments, recommendations and outbursts will apparently receive free tickets whenever the NBA decides to resume play.
Intrigued by the promotion and taking a page out of the McSweeney's "Things 'They' Should Do" playbook, we decided to list our own suggestions for the team. The open question posed to The700Level staff: "What would you change, or not change, about the Sixers?"
The responses vary from serious to semi-serious to Enrico's idea for Sir Charles Barkley's Taco Stand. Enjoy.
Josh Harris and Adam Aron repeatedly mentioned how they plan to transform the game-day experience. My advice? Know your audience. Philadelphians respect real (see: Iverson, Allen).
At this point it's cliché to hate that ridiculous rabbit mascot. In my mind, the anger towards Hip-Hop is symptomatic of the larger frustration with "the show" at Sixers games.
Stop with the crowd noise meters. Stop with the music being played during possessions. Stop with the Hare Raisers.
I understand there’s a time and a place for entertainment (namely, during stoppages in play and between quarters). I don’t understand creating an environment where the product on the floor is secondary to the show off of it.
Put a winning product on the floor and the fans will come. Play smart, unselfish, team basketball and the fans will come. Your customers know a winning product. Masking your deficiencies with a sideshow only further infuriates them.
I am not advocating a sterile game-day atmosphere. I just want it to be about the basketball.
Let this team breathe a bit. They have a lot of quality young talent. Let them play together. Don’t grasp for a quick fix. They had a good thing going towards the end of last season. They are a young, well-coached team on the rise.
By and large, winning NBA teams have consistency. They develop a core, they learn to play together, and the front office makes complementary tweaks. Granted, unlike the Lakers, Bulls, and Spurs juggernauts of the past this team does not have an All-NBA first team player, so throw that model out of the window.
The team I’d use as a reference point for this Sixers squad is the Pistons team from the early 2000’s featuring Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace, and Rasheed Wallace.
They won by playing defense (they allowed a league low 84.3 points-per-game in their ’03-’04 championship season). They played team basketball, everyone knew their role, and they spread teams out and beat them. From 2002-03 to 2007-08 they advanced to the Conference Finals four times, and the NBA Finals twice.
It’s about consistency, chemistry, and talent. I don’t envision an All-NBA first team player finding his way to Philly any time soon. With that in mind, let this young talented group play together as a team. Find out what you’ve got. Let them breathe.
Enrico: Sir Charles Taco Stands
Similar to Bull's BBQ over at Citizens Bank Park, Sir Charles Taco Stand can feature the delicious offerings from Taco Bell such as the Five Buck Box, Chalupas, Gorditas, etc. But you'll also get the chance to shake hands with Charles Barkley himself as you do with the Bull at CBP.
Now, in theory Chuck would be selling his own homemade hot sauce or something, but we just don't see Barkley doing that. So maybe they can have a festival game of sorts. Instead of a dunk tank, Charles tries to throw you through a fake bar window or something.
Oh, and more car flags. They should sell more car flags.
Nick: Back to the Future
Harris & Co. understandably want to make a fresh start with this unfortunately languishing franchise, but that doesn't mean they have to ignore the past entirely. Indeed, they might be best served by drawing on the rich history of this once-proud franchise to reinvigorate the passion of the old fans and quickly introduce the new ones to generations of Sixers basketball. While I'm largely in agreement with Rev's sentiments above and Kulp's below, there's no reason not to have some fun along the way. Thus, I'm calling for the institution of a 2-part "Back to the Future" plan.
1) Clap your hands, stomp your feet and immediately return to the use of the team's 1970's warm-up song, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Sixers." The blaring orchestral music and chanting choruses of pieces like "O Fortuna!" and its imitators have become so over-exposed in modern athletics that the Sixers should chart a new—or, in this case, old—course.
The answer (besides re-signing The Answer—wait, didn't we try that?) is to come up with something uniquely Philadelphia (and something that, for a change, has nothing to do with Rocky or a cheesesteak).
Listen to the song. You can't help but like it. I've never had anyone tell me they've disliked it when I've played it for them; and, believe me, I've played this song in some pretty random places at some pretty random times. The fact is, it's a hit. Dave Zinkoff may be gone, but this jam can have a meaningful second-life.
2) Track down the son of the guy with the absurd beard (real name: Steven Solms) who used to sit in the front row in the 1980s, assuming the son can produce an equal or greater amount of facial hair. Though the elder Solms is no longer with us, we would like his memory and passion for the Sixers to live on. As such, the younger Solms' responsibilities would include sitting in Ed Snider's old court-side seat and evidencing the constant expression that he cannot believe what he just saw. You can get a look at his father's past brilliance between the six and ten-second marks of the video below.
You know what? Let's find a reason to use that music, too.
Kulp: Doesn't Matter
Not to diminish the grievances or suggestions of my colleagues, but I don't put much stock into bells and whistles. No matter what attractions are added to the show, people are going to either love it or hate it, but the one constant is they will go to the game as long as it is
affordable and/or the team is good.
And there you have it, Mr. Harris. To borrow from Andrew Kulp/Adrian Balboa, "Win, Just Win!" You can send a pack of tickets our way as a thank you at any time.
What about you guys? What are your best ideas to reinvigorate the Sixers?