Thanksgiving may be three weeks away, but Halloween is as good a day as any for Philadelphia sports fans to give thanks. Be thankful for the return of the 76ers, and their offering of a diversion.
Be thankful the NBA is playing its 82-game season as scheduled this year. At face value, that may seem like the equivalent of handing out an award for participation. Then again, with the NHL embroiled in a bitter lockout, no end in sight, a little pro basketball right now could be a welcome escape from an ongoing labor dispute.
Be grateful the Sixers are giving fans a reason to be excited about the product. It's about time after running in place for the better part of a decade, but such is the cycle of life. Now that the Eagles look like they could finally fall off of the treadmill entirely, the Sixers are poised to become the best game in town for awhile.
[Enrico's note: ALSO BE GRATEFUL FOR GIANT T-SHIRT LAUNCHERS! YEA!]
Be appreciative of the fact that they are filling a massive void on the local sports calendar. The Flyers are out of commission until who knows when, the Birds' campaign appears to be spiraling out of control, and we are five months away from the Phillies' Opening Day. The Sixers are the only game in town for awhile.
I for one don't know if I've ever been happier for the start to a basketball season, and it's not just because of Andrew Bynum, or the radical changes throughout the organization over the past 12 months. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the 76ers suddenly look like a legit operation, not to mention a viable threat in the Eastern Conference.
I'm most thankful for a fresh start in the midst of what is quickly becoming one of the supremely dismal sports years in the city's recent memory. Between the underachieving Phillies, the disintegrating Eagles, and the non-existent Flyers, there hasn't been very much to cheer for over the last six months -- arguably even less to look forward to.
That changes on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center, where the 76ers are hosting an opposing Andre Iguodala and the Denver Nuggets. It's only Game 1 of 82, and Bynum won't be on the floor, but at the very least it serves as a much-needed change of pace to break up the current monotony.
We are not necessarily talking about a team that's going to deliver a parade this summer, but the franchise seems to be heading in the right direction. If nothing else, there is something to see here, which is a lot more than we can say for the rest of the home teams right now.
The Sixers offering hope to Philadelphia during a hopeless time -- imagine that narrative.