Howard Eskin is doing his thing again:

As you know, Howard totally abhors the Sixers while carrying water for the Eagles, because he’s the uber-important sideline radio guy and the Birds can do no wrong. Not sure why the King has such a hate boner for the local basketball team, but it’s been a thing going on at least 15 years now. Everything the Sixers do is horrible. For instance, if Josh Harris went out and bought ten million dollars worth of free apples for the community, Howard would call it a “joke” and ask why Harris didn’t invest in 12 million in free oranges instead. It’s the most predictable routine since Pierre Robert did his 10 millionth “workforce block” of Pink Floyd.

The thing about Josh Harris is that he’s fine. Decent owner. Not amazing, not horrible either. The Sixers have the required investment and resources to compete. They have a fantastic practice facility. The Wells Fargo Center is more than adequate, though they are, of course, looking to build their own arena. They survived the Adam Silver/Colangelo horse shit and came out on the other side with Doc Rivers/Nick Nurse and Daryl Morey, so even though there were plenty of ridiculous moments along the way, moments ownership might have/should have handled better, there’s been enough recent talent in the front office and on the court to win a ring. Nobody would be complaining about Josh Harris if Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and James Harden didn’t choke away the Atlanta and Boston series, respectively.

What’s funny is that people make a big stink about the Washington Commanders purchase, but very few gave a shit about HBSE owning the Devils and Sixers at the same time. Why? Because the crossover between basketball and hockey fans in Philadelphia is not significant. The Venn Diagram of Eagles and Sixers fans is much more prominent. Now people throw out this conjecture that Harris won’t give a shit about the Sixers because he’s focused on his hometown Commies, but there’s very little evidence over the years to suggest that HBSE favors any one team over the other. The Sixers had more than enough to be a title contender. The Devils turned it around, won 52 games, and now look like a perennial playoff squad. In my mind, Harris and Blitzer could own 400 teams, but as long as the Sixers have the requisite investment and facilities to compete, then it’s all good. The only real gripe revolves around the luxury tax and whether or not they’re willing to go there. That’s probably the most legitimate area of concern over the years, and the one most jeopardized by the Washington purchase.

If we’re being honest with ourselves, the area where Harris and Blitzer fall short is on the fan connection and “emotional intelligence” spectrum. Harris flies in from New York on the helicopter, which is annoying, while Jeffrey Lurie used to walk the parking lots. John Middleton invites fans up into his box and walks around Citizens Bank Park. They’ve been able to make this connection to the fan base that suggests they care on a personal level, and that’s always resonated with Eagles and Phillies supporters. Mind you, they’re also filthy fucking rich, which is why the hate for Harris as some private equity guy means very little. News flash – every sports team is owned by a billionaire or some other combination of disgustingly-rich individuals. Lurie is a Boston native worth $4.4 billion and looks set to hand over the Eagles to his son. Middleton’s fortune comes from tobacco. And Comcast is a corporate entity that, up until Dan Hilferty’s hire, was running the Flyers into the ground. I’d sure love to get Howard Eskin’s thoughts on Dave Scott in the post-Ed Snider era.

When you ask yourself what makes for a good sports owner, you want someone who primarily puts the right people in place and provides the necessary investment for success. Give us a quality stadium, quality facilities, and enough money to compete, then get the fuck out of the way. We’ll call on you when we need to sign Bryce Harper, which, in the Sixers case, those ownership duties were seemingly handled by Michael Rubin, who sold his portion of the team to David Adelman. Harris should try to do more on that end, and speak more often, but he’s not a great public orator and shouldn’t necessarily have to do it if others at the top can fill the void. My primary Harris concern is that if you have a situation like Allen Iverson vs. Larry Brown, for instance, is he able to pull a Pat Croce and sit both of those guys down and hash it out? Same thing for this current Morey vs. Harden stand off. Who in ownership can jump in and say, “alright, let’s figure this out because this is a joke and you’re making us look bad“? That’s where Lurie and Middleton are able to assist their front offices.

Short of that, Harris is fine. Imagine being owned by Dan Snyder or The Glazers or Jeffrey Loria or James Dolan or any number of jabronies. There are so many horrendous owners out there. It could be so much worse. We could be the Charlotte Hornets.

We talked about this on CBC the other day:

Editor’s note: I don’t consider this a Sixers story per se. The ban remains in effect.