New Philadelphia? No Thank you.
Over the last few months, the Philadelphia 76ers couldn’t miss. After a disappointing end to the NBA’s Disney Bubble, the fan base and the city were left broken and uncertain about the future. Things took a sudden turn after parting ways with Brett Brown. The Sixers went out and signed Doc Rivers to coach the basketball team. From there, they brought in a coaching staff that now has well respected names such as Dan Burke and Sam Cassell.
Everything began to fall into place. The Sixers were able to bring in coveted Daryl Morey from the Houston Rockets and made a bunch of key front office moves to put the city, team, and fanbase at ease that the organization is doing their best to re-tool the identity and culture of this team. From there, hype started to build around the 76ers yet again. High profile free agent names have been circling around the team and the NBA Draft and 2021 season is right around the corner.
The Sixers unveiled their new Boathouse Row City Edition uniforms. They weren’t perfect but they were good enough to build some good momentum heading into next season.
Then today, for some odd reason, 76ers President Chris Heck decided to do an interview with UniWatch.
To say that fans were not pleased with the interview would be an understatement. The responses that Chris Heck gave could be attributed to nothing else besides ignorance. They were completely out-of-touch with the city of Philadelphia and the general feel and tone of this city.
Exhibit A: The Black Uniforms
Social Media has been clamoring for years about a possible return to a City Edition version of the classic black uniforms from the Iverson era. Chris Heck on the other hand, wants absolutely nothing to do with them.
So that was the gist of it — they wanted the Iverson throwback and I said, “No, we’re not doing it. I think they sold out with that uniform, I think they were wrong to the brand, and come hell or high water, we’re not going back to that uniform.”
“And finally it got to the point where we’re designing these [City] uniforms so often, and we use them only about six times a year and then it’s gone. So I said, “You know what? Okay, I’ll give you a black uniform.” Now, in my personal opinion, a black uniform is the ultimate cheap win. Like, if you’re Duke, do you need a black uniform? Absolutely not — but they have one. If you’re the Boston Celtics, do you need a black uniform? No. The Lakers? No. But they all have them. And I think they’re cheap wins, I do, and I kinda sold out. [Laughs.] So for that, I’m a little bit ashamed, but I also know I’m trying to be better as a person, learning to compromise and open up to new ideas.
So that was the compromise: We won’t go to the Iverson uniform, but we will allow for a black uniform for one City Edition, and we’ll do something that’s uniquely Philadelphia.”
For whatever reason, Heck seems to have zero clue what this city wants. He was ashamed that he had to “settle” on a “cheap win” for a black uniform that would resemble in any way, the Iverson Era black uniform that literally helped define and shape the current cultural landscape of the NBA today.
Exhibit B: New Philadelphia
UniWatch first called the new City Edition uniforms “Hoity-toity,” and “Fancy-shmancy” which credit to them, they addressed during the interview. The new uniforms didn’t sit well with them given the life-long reputation of hard nosed city of Philadelphia and its sports fan’s “blue collar” persona.
The whole blue collar thing is meant to be positive — I hear it all the time too. We actually don’t use the term “Philly,” because we think it’s lazy and undersells the city, and sometimes I think “blue collar” does the same thing. We refer to it as “New Philadelphia.”
Give me a break. Using Philly is lazy? The term blue collar undersells the city of Philadelphia?
When I think of the term Blue Collar to describe the city of Philadelphia, I think of the 1993 Phillies team. I think of the Broad Street Bullies and Bobby Clarke. I think of Allen Iverson, an NBA Hall-of-Famer that would literally go to war on a basketball floor night in and night out while rejecting the league’s calls to “fall in line” and “obey the norm”. I think of Nick Foles as a back-up quarterback uplifting this city to their first Super Bowl victory. I think of the hard working people in the city of Philadelphia that go through grueling work days just to get home and relax in front of a TV to watch their beloved Philly sports teams night in and night out. I think of four wheelers and dirt bikes and the voice of Meek Mill echoing through the city streets no matter what part of the city you’re in.
In Philadelphia, “Blue Collar” is a term that describes working class people and encapsulates hard work, sacrifice, loyalty and tradition. Lazy is a word that would never cross my mind.
Chris Heck is out-of-touch with the city of Philadelphia. Thinking that Boathouse Row is a quote “reference to Philadelphia nightlife” is ridiculous. To limit “blue collar” as a quote “hockey thing” is insulting.
New Philadelphia? No thank you.
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