For once, I’m going to risk losing the reader in the first paragraph, but this is a chance I have to take. I have been a Sixers fan for 50 years and I have never been angrier about the state of this team than I am right now.
How much do I bleed for the Sixers? I was a fan for three decades while residing in Celtics country. I grew up in Providence, R.I., during the reign of the Bill Russell champions of the 1950s through the 70s. Although the Sixers won only one title during those years (vs. 13 for the Celtics) my loyalty never wavered.
And that’s why I nearly lost my mind last week when GM Ed Stefanski called a news conference for the sole purpose of insulting me and his team’s few remaining fans. His 23 minutes of delusional blabber were an all-out assault on my loyalty. Every word brought with it another reason to give up, another reason to find something better to do with my passion.
The stated reason for the news gathering was the firing of Eddie Jordan, a coach so bad that the organization will pay him $6 million over the next two years not to oversee the Sixers. When I suggested to Stefanski last year that he consider Avery Johnson and his career winning percentage of .735 before hiring his pal, the GM openly scoffed. Why hire a proven success when you’ve got a friend who has lost everywhere he’s ever coached?
Now, we have to endure the lame explanations of the man who made that ridiculous decision — and may actually get a chance to make another one. The fact that Stefanski is still in charge speaks volumes about the cluelessness of his bosses, chairman Ed Snider and president Peter Luukko.
Snider and Luukko weren’t present at the Jordan firing because they had more pressing business than the future of their franchise — a Board of Governors meeting in New York. What they missed was Stefanski explaining that he hired Jordan because the coach really, really believed the Princeton offense would work here. Jordan was unemployed, had a career NBA winning percentage of .444 at the time, and he was supposed to say his offense wouldn’t work?
I won’t run through all of the other spectacular absurdities spouted by Ed Stefanski. They are too painful to recount for a person who loves this franchise and is dying a little more with every loss.
I’m sorry if I wasted your time with this lament. I offer it here only because someone has to say something, someone has to care about the Sixers and the unbearable injustice that is going on right now.
– Angelo Cataldi is host of 610 WIP’s Morning Show, which airs weekdays from 5:30-10 a.m.
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