With Selection Sunday officially behind us and the NCAA tournament awaiting, we here at The 700 Level have decided it's time to have a little March Madness of our own. Over the next three weeks, we'll be holding playoffs to conclusively decide who, among 64 prime candidates selected, is the greatest Philly athlete of modern times. One by one, we'll be holding seeded match-ups, for which we ask you to cast your vote to help decide who should advance, until just one lucky soul remains, standing in adulation with "One Shining Moment" blaring in the background.
And how did we decide on the field of 64? Well, we took a nice cross-section of the statistically-accomplished, the post-season proven, and the fan-favorite Philly-based jocks of recent years. Here were our selection qualifications:
- Only athletes from the four major Philadelphia professional sports teams. Extending to college and individual sport-based athletes blurs the line too much between Philly vs. not Philly, and we're more comfortable dealing with the Big Four types anwyay.
- Only athletes who played more than half their Philly career after the year 1980. Not too many of us were around for the years before that, and you gotta draw the line somewhere before you start trying to compare Cole Hamels and Brian Dawkins with Grover Cleveland Alexander and Chuck Bednarik.
- Only athletes who played at least four full years in the City of Brotherly Love. It hurts to exclude recent sensations like Roy Halladay and Michael Vick, as well as one-or-two-season wonders like Terrell Owens and Dikembe Mutombo, but we wanted this to be a contest for those athletes who had really put in the time to become permanently associated with Philadelphia, and figured that a full presidential term was a good minimum amount of service.
As for how you should be voting, you can use whatever criteria you like (and undoubtedly will), but we'll be casting our votes for the athletes that did the most for their respective squads during their tours of duty, that accomplished the most on a team and individual level, and that best defined what Philly Sports were essentially about for the last three-plus decades.
We hope you enjoy voting for your athletes of choice, and encourage you to have it out in the comments section below to make a case for your particular selections. Of course there will be no right answer to many of these, and one man's obvious chalk selection will be another's likely upset pick. But rather than getting too hung up on the solitary matchups, we also hope that you take this entire project as a larger tribute to the last 31 years of Philly sports, and the standard-bearers that made those years so memorable.
Enjoy, and let us know how you do in your office pool.
Click here to start voting on the matchups.
The Sixers are losing a top assistant coach just five months after he joined the team.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo's The Vertical, the Houston Rockets are finalizing a deal to hire Mike D'Antoni as their head coach. According to Wojnarowski, the deal is for four years, with a team option in the final year.
D'Antoni had been a Sixers associate coach since last December, when the team hired him after starting the season with a 1-26 record.
While he took a supporting role in Philadelphia, D'Antoni has 12 years of NBA head coaching experience with the Nuggets, Suns and, most recently, the Lakers. The 2013-14 Lakers went 27-55 under D'Antoni.
Earlier in the week, Wojnarowski reported P.J. Carlesimo could take D'Antoni's place.
Carlesimo, 66, and Sixers head coach Brett Brown were both assistant coaches under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs from 2002-07. Carlesimo also has previous head coaching experience with the Blazers, Warriors and Sonics/Thunder.
Former Prep Charter and current Washington Wizards star Markieff Morris was detained at Philadelphia International Airport Thursday, according to law enforcement officials.
Morris, who was with a party that included his mother, checked a bag for an international trip when “a suspicious item” was found in his suitcase, according to law enforcement.
A secondary search of his bag revealed what law enforcement officials called “suspected marijuana.” Terminal A at Philadelphia International is overseen by Tinicum Township Police in Delaware County, not by the Philadelphia Police Department. Philadelphia airport security notified Tinicum Township Police. Morris was then taken to the Tinicum Township Police precinct for questioning. He was later released on his own reconnaissance.
A Tinicum Township police spokesman said the investigation is on-going.
Morris, a Philadelphia native, is in his first full season with the Wizards, who acquired him from the Phoenix Suns in February. The Suns drafted him out of Kansas with the 13th overall pick in 2011. Morris' twin brother Marcus was drafted one pick later by the Houston Rockets before being dealt to Phoenix, where played with his brother for a little more than two seasons. Marcus now plays for the Detroit Pistons.
Brian Dawkins, one of the most beloved Eagles off all time and a guy who clearly still hits the gym, was in Philadelphia on Thursday and was spotted at the NovaCare Complex to watch the team practice.
As you can see, Dawkins still has biceps as big as your waist. The team sharing a simple photo of Dawkins got fans all in a tizzy.
Was it a coincidence that Weapon X appeared just days before "X-Men: Apocalypse" is set to hit theaters? Only he knows.
For his part, Dawkins acknowledged that it's better to stay in shape than become a fat old man.