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My letter of apology to Sixers CEO Adam Aron

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Good afternoon Mr. Aron,

You may or may not have read my article several weeks back regarding the Sixers acquisition of Kwame Brown. Philly2Philly isn’t exactly a Google favorite anymore, so some of our pieces slip through the cracks.
Andrew Bynum photo: Bryan Anderson/AP
In case you missed it...well....I wasn’t particularly kind to your organization over that signing. Can you blame me? After all, the Lakers just got Steve Nash, while you guys signed a former No. 1 pick who has largely had a mediocre NBA career at best. The thought of him starting for your team made me feel apprehensive to say the least about any expectations for the upcoming season. Not exactly a reason to buy a six-game package if you know what I mean. Who knows? Maybe Brown will wind up being a serviceable bench player on the Sixers 2012-2013 squad and I was way off base altogether.

Let’s be honest here. Every knowledgeable sports fan in this town knows that despite the Sixers being a few lucky breaks from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals last May, some big changes needed to made to this team in order to compete with the Miami Heats of the world.

Then all of the sudden, a funny thing happened last week in Sixerville that might have our team headed in that direction a lot sooner than any of us thought- and we have you guys to thank for it.

At this time last Thursday, the Sixers, technically operating without a general manager and a head coach who was overseas working for NBC in the Olympics, wound up smack dab in the middle of a complicated four-team trade that saw you acquire Andrew Bynum- considered by many to be the second best center in the NBA.

Impressive. Very impressive. And from what I heard, you worked the deal from London!

Although the Sixers are widely regarded as the redheaded stepchild of Philadelphia sports teams, this town wants to love them. They just need a reason. All you need to do is go back to 2001 to see how the Tri-State area embraced that Sixers squad with open arms. When all was said and done, they became one of the city’s most beloved teams ever. Our fan base wasn’t established by the number of championships this city has won. If it was, there probably wouldn’t be a whole lot of sports fans left here.

However, if the people know that a maximum effort is being given on behalf of the players as well as ownership to get their team to the next level, they will come in droves. We saw that on Wednesday, as a crowd of thousands showed up at the National Constitution Center to welcome Bynum and Jason Richardson. They even cheered you, and that had to feel great. As you said, the goal was to make the new players feel welcomed, and it’s safe to say the fans undoubtedly succeeded at this task. Whether he was playing to the crowd or not, Bynum seems to be saying all the right things, and the fans were loving every minute of it.

Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of things that could go the other way here. It’s not like Bynum doesn’t have question marks. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is already taking shots at him, he has two bad knees at just 24 years of age, and his motivation and attitude seem to be an issue at times. Can he co-exist with Doug Collins? Can he handle being “the man” in Philadelphia? Remember, he was playing with Kobe Bryant out in Los Angeles. While the Sixers are a talented bunch, not many teams have anything close to a player of Bryant’s caliber. And if Bynum meets your expectations, can you sign him to a long-term deal?  Like a typical Philly fan, I’m just looking at both sides of the coin here. Nonetheless, if things take a downward turn with Bynum, it was still a deal you guys had to make. And while we won’t likely hold you responsible if things don’t go as planned on the court, we will expect you guys to right the ship off the court.

Yes, I know you and Joshua Harris said all the right things when you took the team over last October. However, being a hometown guy yourself, you’re well aware of the handful of owners who’ve come through this town giving false hope to the Philly faithful that it’s championship or bust- with the latter sadly coming to fruition 27 times out of the last 29 years. Like most local Philly sports fans, skepticism is in our blood. For the time being, however, you and Mr. Harris really seem to have outdone yourselves. I’m sorry that I doubted you, and whether the Andrew Bynum experiment works or not, you have indeed made a believer out of me.

Sincerely,

Joe Vallee
Sixers fan
Chief Executive Officer- Philly2Philly.com

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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