Andrew and Jason’s Excellent Adventure

17 Aug

Who are Andrew and Jason?  Are they Phillies minor leaguers tearing it up in Triple A?  Are they the Tweeters who gave J-Roll a hard time after he failed to hustle in Wednesday night’s game?  Nope.  They are Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, the newest members of a different team in town.

Instead of writing about another bullpen meltdown.  Instead of bemoaning one more excruciating loss for Cliff Lee.  Instead of writing about a team that has found yet another way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, I’ve decided on this Friday to start the weekend on a more positive note.

I’ve decided to write about a team generating positive energy and excitement.  For the first time I can remember we’re talking basketball in August thanks to a bold move by the Philadelphia 76ers front office and a press conference like no other.

It was on Wednesday that the Sixers held a presser to welcome their team’s newest members to town.

Now that’s not so unusual.

In attendance were team CEO Adam Aron and owner Josh Harris along with Sixers head coach Doug Collins, still jet-lagged from his stint as color analyst for the Olympics basketball competition.

That’s not so unusual either.

And of course the Philadelphia media were in attendance in full force.  Again no big deal.

This press conference was not held at the 76ers home arena, the Wells Fargo Center, however.  It took place at Philadelphia’s Constitution Center, a beautiful museum in the heart of the city usually reserved for presidential speeches and gala fundraisers.

Now that is unusual.

Also in attendance, in addition to the usual suspects, were over fifteen hundred Sixers fans invited by team management to give Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson a real Philadelphia welcome.

And that’s downright unheard of, in any town, for any sport.

And welcome they did.  The fifteen hundred plus fans, proudly sporting their Sixers colors, were anything but silent spectators.  They cheered, they chanted, “Beat LA” and “Andrew, Andrew” among others and they raucously showed Bynum and Richardson what the City of Brotherly Love has to offer.

In a museum built to honor the city’s rich history, this one-of-a-kind press conference made some history of its own.  When asked about the possibility of signing a long-term contract with the Sixers, Bynum replied:

To be honest, my first experience here has been so great, I’m really leaning toward making this my home.” 

This statement by their new superstar center brought even louder cheers from the already frenzied fans in attendance.  Excitement about 76ers basketball has been hard to come by since the days of Allen Iverson even during the season.  To have a crowd  of this size at a press conference on a Wednesday afternoon in August might be considered in itself historic.

For Bynum,  coming to play for the Sixers is like coming home.  He grew up in Plainsboro, NJ which is just outside of Princeton.  But he couldn’t have predicted a homecoming like the one he received on Wednesday.  He spent the afternoon smiling, greeting fans, signing autographs and marveling at the large turnout and loud ovations from the Philadelphia faithful.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Bynum said of the reception.

And If he thinks that was loud, just wait until he hits a game-winner against the Celtics.  Now that crowd response will be truly historic.

So enjoy your Friday.  Go out and buy a 76ers shirt or do what my son’s been doing and google some of Andrew Bynum’s greatest plays.  There’s one against Shaq when Bynum was just 19 that’s sure to bring a smile.

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2 Responses to “Andrew and Jason’s Excellent Adventure”

  1. Bob August 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    Lets not annoit him until he plays a game or, better yet, a full season. He has been injury-prone and will be hard to judge because he will giving a last-year-of-the-contract effort. I think it was an excellent trade because Bynum has talent and if he shows promise, he could be around a while. If not, poof and he is gone after a year. Best of all, no more Iggy clunkers at the foul line and beyond.

    • Susan Cohen-Dickler August 21, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

      No annointment, just excitement!

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