By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As the Sixers finished off an unexpected 16-point win over the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls and reigning MVP Derrick Rose last night, I looked around and realized how much things have changed. Just a year ago I was screaming to anyone who listened that the team was working hard and changing. They played defense and worked together. Many times it seemed like no one wanted to listen. Last night I realized I wasn’t the only one who was screaming. There were over 18,000 people at the Wells Fargo Center screaming along with me.
Unfortunately, later on, I had a run in with those other people.
When I got home to “check the internet” as I usually do after a home game to get the vibe from the fans on Twitter and Facebook, I encountered some people I’d forgotten about for the evening, the “I’ll believe in them when …” people. These are the people who after every accomplishment, they set a new bar for when they’ll really believe. These people are exhausting. The same people who now say nothing matters unless there’s a ring involved.
“I’ll believe it when they beat Miami on Friday!”
“I’ll believe in Iggy when he does it consistently! Iguodala didn’t have to hit a last second shot!”
“I’ll believe it when the other team has their best players! The Bulls didn’t have Hamilton or Deng!”
“They still can’t win a championship!”
These guys are really missing out.
All this time they spending waiting to believe, they could be having fun. They could be watching a team that isn’t really supposed to do any of this. A team that is going against everything that we’ve come to know about NBA basketball, and winning while they’re doing it. They’re sitting around waiting for some kind of proof, I’m high-fiving strangers.
They’re sitting around asking “are they for real?” While I’m sitting around with a smile on my face, wondering what they think real is supposed to be.
Championships are nice, but when I think back on all of the great memories I have watching sports, I realize that only a few of them involve winning that very last game of the year that gets you the crown.
I don’t know if the Sixers are going to win the championship, and I don’t particularly care. I’m watching a team with a coach that I like, and a bunch of players that I like, win games. When we get to the playoffs, I’ll worry about the playoffs. When we’re in the offseason, I’ll be concerned about the offseason, but last night, I just wanted to watch the Sixers beat the Bulls by almost 20 points.
The truth is we’re never going to be sure about anything regarding a championship. We were sure about the Phillies and we just ended up annoyed. We were sure about the Eagles and we just ended up furious.
Angelo Cataldi asked this morning, “can the Sixers do something?” I would say they already are.
The best times we have are when we watch these games without a safety net or expectations. Without the assurance that we’re going to finish on top. Remember the 1993 Phillies? We never expected anything, we never won anything, and we still loved every moment of it. Well, except one.
The Sixers are winning games, which is why they play them. Just enjoy the ride, without a net.
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