By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Andre Iguodala fouled, with two seconds left in the game, stepping to the line to shoot two free throws with the Sixers down one point. I had only one reaction, and I shared it on Twitter.
It couldn’t be any other way. It had to be Andre Iguodala, it had to be free throws, and it had to be for the series. I think we all knew that.
I didn’t say it was perfect because I was sure he would make the shots; be certain, I wasn’t sure. But as sports go, as stories go, it’s what had to happen. This moment had to happen.
The narratives about Andre Iguodala are many, but the one that you hear the most is that he’s not “clutch.” That if there’s one guy you don’t want taking the shot to win the game, it’s Andre Iguodala. To add fuel to the fire, despite having an otherwise very productive season, his free throw shooting took a turn for the worse this year. Especially in the fourth quarter. Like when the movie Scream took every horror movie cliche and crammed it into one film, sports took every Andre Iguodala cliche and crammed it into one moment.
In that moment, I wanted nothing more than for Andre Iguodala to come through. Not as a Sixers fan, not as a radio talk show host, but as a person, I wanted it for him.
Sometime in October or November, I promised on Twitter that if the NBA lockout ever ended, I would have a party at my house. I was mostly serious. Then one day, Iguodala replied on Twitter and said he’d come to the party. I didn’t think he was serious. I’d never met Iguodala, never spoken to Iguodala, and my contact with him was limited to an exchange about whether he was properly rated in NBA2K12 (I thought his 85 might be a little high).
Long story short, I had the party (on December 9th at Chickie’s and Pete’s), and on the first day of NBA training camp, Andre Iguodala showed up after the Sixers team dinner. I gave him several chances to back out, and he never did. He came by himself, walked into the party, and hung out with about 100 of us for about an hour, talking basketball and taking pictures (see proof here).
It was unexpected for so many reasons. First, you just don’t expect a pro athlete to do this kind of thing. Second, you don’t really expect Andre Iguodala to do this kind of thing. Iguodala has faced so much criticism over the years, and has generally kept his distance. I thought walking into a room full of Philadelphia sports fans was brave, and I was impressed by it. I think we all were.
Andre Iguodala did something unexpected on December 9th that made me like him a lot more.
Fast forward to last night’s game 6 against the Bulls. Two seconds left. Two free throws for the win. Swish. Swish.
Last night, Andre Iguodala did something unexpected that made me proud that I like Andre Iguodala.