The Decision (Not That One)
Our resident Brit picks his team. It’s probably not who you’re thinking.
by Ben Taylor / @benitaylor
So, here we are—the decision post. I’ve spent a good couple of weeks going over this in my mind. I’ve researched the teams at length (special thanks to the NBA team sites for removing all information about your current players), I’ve picked a team and changed my mind a couple of times, and I’ve even spent time in the dark, seedy, shameful underworld of the internet—sports team fan forums—to try and get an idea what the fans might be like.
In the end, it was between a couple of teams—one, I had in my mind from the very beginning, the other, I hadn’t even considered before I started this thing but the more I thought about it, the more it felt right. That team, the team I’ll be following until death and/or relocation to Kansas City do us part, is the Philadelphia 76ers.
I knew we had a good thing going when I was playing as Philly on 2K11 and I just couldn’t let a loss go. (I get a bit competitive about video games, which is stupid because I’m dreadful and routinely find myself on the receiving end of a humiliating beating from some 14-year-old kid who laughs down his headset when I give away turnover No. 15 and it’s still the first quarter.) I genuinely felt like I was letting the team down. It actually mattered. Good sign, I thought.
(It’s times like these, when I realize I actually care about losing a computer game to a kid I don’t know, that I remind myself that it is a true miracle that men of my generation—the ‘glued to the PS3, iPhoning, sneaker collecting, tweeting, man-boys who couldn’t change a fuse let alone fix a car’ generation—manage to keep girlfriends. I guess that would change if our girls knew quite how many pairs of box-fresh Jordans we’ve got hidden away, gents…but that’s our little secret.)
Enough of the confessions, back to the matter at hand.
When I started thinking about the type of team I’d pick, I thought a big superstar player would make all the difference. A Blake, a Dwight, a Derrick, a Carmelo. In the end, it didn’t matter at all—I guess in this post-Decision era, with guys working together to end up playing with their buddies, and teams picking up and abandoning players without thought, I realized it was a team I was after. The names on the back of the jerseys didn’t really matter.
With the Sixers, I knew a bit about the team, but hadn’t had much chance to see them in action last season. Many hours of YouTube mixtapes and highlight reels later, I came to a satisfying conclusion—they are a good young team that could be a lot of fun to watch. They’re not perfect, but that’s exactly what I’m looking for.
I wanted some history, and Philly has sure got history. A great sporting city. A great basketball town. Even before I did some digging around I could picture the iconic images. AI crossing up Michael Jordan. Dr J and those one-handed dunks. Wilt just being Wilt. It feels like something good to be a part of.
I also wanted some ups and downs. I can tell I’m in for some of those, but I’m cautiously optimistic. Apollo Global Management—I’m not asking for championships (yet), I’m not demanding a move for Dwight Howard (yet), all I ask is you don’t screw this up for me by moving the team.
All what’s left is for Billy to get on the phone to his old buddy Dave, get this lockout ended, and I can get to cheering on my team. In the meantime, I’m off to persuade my girlfriend that it’s a good idea to make this thing official and ship some Mitchell & Ness Sixers gear to London.
Catch you next time.