Guess who’s coming to the Wells Fargo Center tonight?
I’m actually genuinely interested in seeing what kind of reception he gets.
Will Sixer fans boo the everliving shit out of him? Or do we get applause from the portion of the base that wants him to play here next season?
It’s a strange dichotomy, one of the last tangible divides separating the pro-Process crowd and the anti-Process crowd. One portion of fans would like the league’s best player on their team. Another portion says bringing LeBron to Philly is not “natural” and would upset balance between the locker room, coaching staff, and front office. I don’t know where the neutrals stand. I think they would probably be thrilled to see LeBron playing alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, even at 33 and 34 years old.
Here’s the thing; I think booing LeBron provides the same effect as cheering for him. Why? Because you’re showing him that this is a legit fan base that wants to create an elite atmosphere and make opposing players uncomfortable.
It’s not like LeBron is really fazed by anything like that, but you get the point, which I’ll explain this way:
If you cheer for him, maybe he says, “hey, this is nice, they want me here.”
If you boo him into nothingness, maybe he says, “hey, this environment is great, these fans are legit, I should play here.”
Aren’t you sort of achieving the same thing either way? Is this whole debate redundant? Are we building the strawman and immediately knocking it down? I think LeBron is more likely to think that cheers from an opposing fan base are corny as hell, but would instead have a lot of respect for a hostile and genuine display.
For what it’s worth, 97.5 has a LeBron poll running:
Tonight is the BIGGEST game of the year for the Sixers. Philadelphia is also hosting a possible Free Agent signing. When LeBron James is introduced tonight before the start of the game, should Sixers fans cheer or boo? Join us at 610-632-0975
— The Anthony Gargano Show (@975Middays) April 6, 2018
I voted for boo. I think the general rule is that you boo the opposition, unless you’re one of those Phillies fans who wants to rag the manager after five games.
Outside of the psychological aspect of this whole thing, the stakes are incredibly high on the court tonight.
You’ve got Cleveland sitting a half game in front of Philly with the #3 seed in the East. The Cavs would play one of Miami, Washington, or Milwaukee before setting up a 2/3 series against the Kyrie Irving-less Celtics in round two.
The #4 seed Sixers would host the Pacers in round one and then go up to Toronto for the next series. If Philly pips the Cavs tonight and wins out, the three seed is a lock. A tie doesn’t help the Sixers since LeBron and company have the tiebreakers.
Not sure about you, but I think 3/6 with Boston in the second round (assuming they get there) is much more favorable than having to play Indy and Toronto. Right? Do you want Miami and Boston or Indy and Toronto? I guess it doesn’t make a huge difference. This is the playoffs, after all. The only team with a cakewalk to the conference final is Houston.
But the path is there. The Sixers have won 12 straight and can make it 13 tonight, with games against Dallas, Atlanta, and Milwaukee to finish out the season. It seems crazy to think that 16 in a row would be at all possible, but here I am, scratching my head and saying, “huh, maybe they can pull this off.”
If you’re into over-analyzing things, check out this quote from last night:
— Gordon Mack (@gordonmack) April 6, 2018
I mean, whatever, LeBron is a student of the game. He knows opponents inside and out and I think he plays with the Sixers on NBA2K anyway, so yea, he probably knows the roster. Does he secretly want to come here? Blah, I don’t know.
What I do know is that we’re in for a treat tonight, certainly the best atmosphere since Andre Iguodala sent the Sixers to the second round back in 2012.