Let’s get it back to the 76ers.
We’re further removed from the pitiful second-round exit, but it still reeks. It stings the nostrils. The Sixers had no business losing to a Hawks team that went out in the Eastern Conference Finals at the hands of the Giannis-less Bucks. The Hawks are who we thought they were and Doc Rivers’ team LET THEM OFF THE HOOK.
But anyway, Danny Green went on John Clark’s podcast recently and said the same dumb shit we’ve been hearing about Philadelphia sports fans for years now. We’re too harsh and blah blah blah. Here’s part of the exchange, which was transcribed by Adam Hermann over at NBC Sports Philadelphia:
CLARK: “Do you think the crowd, and Philly, can have an effect on someone like Ben (Simmons) in those moments?”
GREEN: “For sure. It has an effect on everybody, and I think that’s something that needs to change in the city. I love our fans, but when things aren’t going well, they can’t turn on you. That’s the one thing I would disagree with or dislike. Some guys use it as motivation, some guys have a chip on their shoulder, but I think that needs to change. They need to be riding with us, regardless of how things are going.
“We’re the No. 1 team in the East, still playing well, and in some games they’ll boo us – that’s part of the culture here, part of their way of showing they love us – but with a guy like Ben, and other guys, I think they need to stick behind them and stick by them as long as they can, until the horn blows. And even then, he’s here. He’s given so much to the organization and the city, on and off the court, that he deserves that respect and that support.
I love our fans, but I try to throw things out there to let them know, ‘Protect us, encourage us, stand by us like we stand by you, regardless of wins and losses.’ We are humans and people, too. We’re not zoo animals where you can throw things or be on our side when it’s convenient. I love the city of Philly, and I love the fans. It’s been quite an experience for me for the one year I’ve been here.”
We’ve been over this before. Philadelphia is not a city of unconditional support. That is certainly the default behavior, but there are expectations, and when those expectations are not met, the fans communicate to the players in the few ways they can. Booing is one of them. Ben Simmons was booed in Game 1 of the 2019 Brooklyn series, told fans to “stay on that side,” and then came out and dropped a triple-double in a Game 2 victory. It was all good. Water under the bridge. The natural push and pull of the fan/athlete relationship. The ebb and flow.
These are the same fans, mind you, that cheered for Ben and showed him support at the foul line during the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Dude was in the stands making shooting motions of encouragement. Same fans that went crazy when he hit a three pointer a year prior. Same fans that cheered Markelle Fultz at the charity stripe and really showed support for him when he was struggling. They went nuts for the guy because they knew he was really having trouble and needed a confidence boost.
With respect to Danny Green, who did well for the Sixers this year and is a three-time champ, he spent a grand total of one season here. He’s not qualified to talk about Philadelphia fandom and sporting culture. These fans came back after the COVID-19 pandemic and gave this team a huge home court advantage, which they blew. I don’t want to hear anything from Danny or anybody else about fan support or encouragement or any other such nonsense. #1 seeds don’t lose multiple games at home to the #5 seed Atlanta fucking Hawks in the playoffs. Of course the fans are going to be bothered by that.
If these guys think Philly is too harsh, then “go play intramurals brotha,” as the great Dan Hawkins once said.
It’s so irritating. I’m irritated.
Full podcast here: