The Sixers held a pep rally for the big game against Valley later this week.
The Sixers held a public press conference at the Constitution Center today to welcome Andrew Bynum and the man with the 15th most made three-pointers in NBA history, Jason Richardson. This a running commentary of that press conference, which I watched online.
Let me say up front that I’m a fan of the trade. I love it, in fact. The Sixers got the best possible deal they could have for Andre Iguodala. Bynum is an elite player and Jason Richardson is a good complementary piece. Bynum’s contract has only one year remaining, so the Sixers can either choose to offer him a new deal (if he proves to be the star player they expected) or let him walk and use freed up money to spend on next year’s stellar free agent class (if Bynum’s injury problems creep up or he turns out to be a complete flake).
Good, now that that’s out of the way…
0:22 Czar Aron takes the stage to chants of Beat LA! Beat LA! Beat LA! The Lakers, of course, play in the NBA’s Western Conference and just upgraded from Bynum to Dwight Howard. Beat Indiana doesn’t have the same ring to it, I guess.
0:38 Aron: “Good afternoon to our press corps, because after all, this is a working press conference.”
Yeah, yeah, sure it is. Now if you’ll just excuse the hollowed out center of the room, the inscriptions of quotes from our forefathers and the chanting throng of unemployed Sixers fans, we’ll get started.
Also, press corps? That’s a rather official sounding term for Bob Cooney and a bunch of beat writers who had to be stripped off the Wildwood beach to do the bare minimum.
1:04 Aron: “AND MOST OF ALL, AS A NEW ERA IN SIXERS BASKETBALL BEGINS, GOOD AFTERNOON TO ANDREW BYNUM AND JASON RICHARDSON!”
Not to be gross here, but there’s a reasonable chance Aron just shat himself.
1:26 Aron: “Jason and Andrew, your star power has lit up this city since our announcement just on Friday of your impending arrival.”
Aron, himself, arrived back in Philly from London at some point late Monday or Tuesday. How does he know?
1:41 Aron has totally buried his own lede here. He just now introduced himself as the Sixers co-owner and CEO, 100 seconds in. That was like the opening to CSI. Set the stage then, boom, credits. ME!
2:15 Superfan Monty G is screaming BABY! BABY! Working press conference.
2:19 Honoring greatness is the theme today, Aron says. Just a reminder: Jason Richardson is seated to his left. #thirdmostwinsinnbahistory
2:42 Richardson: “Hey yo dog, you said something about cheesesteaks. I don’t see no cheesesteaks.”
2:56 Aron says that this will get right to the point (just three minutes in) and that he and owner Joshua Harris will give brief opening remarks, allow the defense to call their first witness, and then open it up for questions to members of the working press, who are undoubtedly shamed right now.
3:32 Big round of applause for Doug Collins, who, apparently, “moved heaven and earth” to get to Philadelphia today. Or, he bought a plane ticket.
4:20 No joke, Mayor Nutter gave Mayoral Welcomes to Richardson and Bynum and has extended them an open invitation to join him in his office. Once again, Jason Richardson was extended an open invitation to stop by Mayor Nuts’ office.
Somewhere, Darren Daulton points up at the sky and says, “See! See! I told you!!! 2012, man!”
5:05 Here’s my favorite part, and it’s not even close. Aron: “Jason Richardson has the extraordinary accomplishment of having made one thousand five hundred and twenty three-point shots… the 15th highest number of any player in the entire history of the NBA!”
HONORING GREATNESS!!! WE’RE HONORING GREATNESS TODAY!!!!
The quote, and my reaction (:05 mark) as Aron dropped that line:
6:30 Aron is preparing to give Bynum a manual.
7:30 Aron: “When Josh Harris sets out to take on a task, he does it with verve, he does it with skill, and he does it to succeed. Only 10 months ago, despite our team’s long and proud history, rich with tradition (#thirdmostwinsinnbahistory), the 76ers were nonetheless of many only an afterthought. But, because of Josh’s determination, commitment and judgement, by contrast all throughout our initial season, and certainly today given this breathtaking trade orchestrated by Rod Thorn, our front office and our coaching staff, the 76ers are once again the talk of the town!”
Somewhere, Thomas Jefferson has just organized a faction of dead men storm to Old City and take back what is rightfully theirs, and, at this point, I can’t blame him.
Aron’s comment, my reaction in the background, and an awesome BABY! BABY! from Monty G:
7:15 Here comes Buzz Killington. I mean, Josh Harris. His Mayor Nutter-meets-Jewish-Kermit-The-Frog voice is really gonna tickle this urban crowd into a frenzy.
8:40 Harris: “When we bought this team, everyone said Philly’s not a basketball town.” – crickets – “Boy, were they wrong!”
9:10 Harris: “Ehhhhhhhhhhhhnaahhhhhhhhehhhhhhhhh Doug Collins eehhhnehhhhhhhhhhhh.”
9:55 Monty G, in a sing-song voice, breaks up the monotony: “THIS IS HOW WE DO IT!”
Me: laughing uncontrollably.
11:00 Harris: "We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on, we're going to survive. Today we celebrate our independence day!"
Will Smith (not actually present) is beyond confused at this point.
I’ll let you know when there’s a good one.
15:20 What were your thoughts when you heard you were traded to the Sixers?
Bynum: “I was super excited. I thought it was time for a change. And, you know, I’m here now and I’m loving the city. I’ve been here for two days and everybody’s been great to me. Had an opportunity to go to some nice restaurants, things like that.”
Shit. He’s going to be 320 lbs. by November.
17:45 John Mitchell, from the Inquirer, who broke news of Bynum’s upcoming knee procedure four months after it was first reported, has a question… about Bynum’s knee. Hey, it’s the best question yet.
Bynum mentions that he talked to Kobe about the procedure. Incredibly, no boos. I’m disappointed.
Bynum is legitimately coming across quite well here. He seems likable and genuine. For real, no fluff quotes. Genuinely seems happy. But let’s wait and see what happens when Doug Collins takes him out for shooting up a three with the team up 12 in the final two minutes.
18:45 Mike Missanelli asks a question, gets booed. Baffling. Missanelli is probably the best sports personality in the city. If you’re going to boo anyone, boo Beasley Reese.
20:45 Bynum, from New Jersey, says he was a Bulls fan growing up. – 3.
21:20 FINALLY! Jeff Skversky at least has some balls, asks Bynum if he’ll re-sign here.
Bynum: “To be honest, man, my first experience here has been so great. I’m really leaning towards making this my home. [Cheers.] [Aron’s erect.] [Harris’ demeanor resembles Ace Ventura’s during his visit to Shady Acres– not sure what that means.] [Thomas Jefferson and his crew have stormed the lobby, but they are quickly disarmed by a hearty BABY! BABY! from Monty G.] “That’s really the answer, I’m leaning towards being with the team, making it my home.”
Aron has collapsed. His pants, vanished.
22:05 Harris immediately crushes the buzz: “Where do I sign? Show me the contract?”
22:10 Bynum thinks to himself: Yo, you serious, dog?
22:11 From the corner: "Ruff. Did somebody say B. Franklin Dogg? Ruff."
22:12 From another corner: "No! You pipe down. Ruff."
23:00 John Mitchell, from the Inquirer, again introduces himself as John Mitchell, from the Inquirer. “[To Richardson] Can you talk about playing alongside Dwight Howard?”
I think Bynum’s nostrils just flared.
23:30 Beasley Reese is asking a question. Let’s try again: BOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Nope? Nothing? Dammit. OK, Beasely can stay.
24:25 Someone asks Rod Thorn how much of a plus it is to have young player, like Bynum, to grow with the team. Thorn: “I don’t give A FUCK. I’m out of here in months, maybe weeks. A duck in a pond, with one leg, wearing a beret and reading Tolstoy wouldn’t be more lame than I am right now.”
26:45 Colleen Wolfe asks Bynum about criticism of his focus by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Bynum handles it well, just like I did by not making any comments about how Wolfe was most likely the prettiest person in the building. BABY! BABY!
27:48 Aron: “This press conference has officially been adjourned.”
The jury may now deliberate.