By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It seems fitting that the Sixers’ opening game of the 2012-13 season, the first game of hopefully a new era for the franchise, is against the face of the previous era, Andre Iguodala.
The Sixers open the season Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center against the Denver Nuggets, and Iguodala will be playing on the visiting team in that arena for the first time in his NBA career. Iguodala’s nine years as a Sixer were polarizing, to say the least.
“You know what? [Iguodala is] my man,” Jrue Holiday told 94WIP’s Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis. “Ever since I was here, he was kind of the guy who took me under his wing. Him, [Elton Brand] and Lou [Williams].”
Iguodala was known to have a strained relationship with Sixers coach Doug Collins. In a recent interview with CBS Sports’ Matt Moore, Iguodala admitted as much. “I haven’t really enjoyed basketball a whole lot the last couple of years,” he told Moore. “Last year was a big year for us, but it was just draining for the criticism to be there every single day.”
Iguodala’s relationship with Collins doesn’t seem to bother Holiday.
“And even though I know how he feels about coach, he’s still my friend,” Holiday said. “Coming back here, hopefully it will be somewhat good for him. I feel very strongly, probably 94% that he’s going to get booed, but again, I’m excited to see him.
He’s done a lot for our team, especially young guys like me. He leads in steals and assists, he’s one of the best in-game dunkers I’ve ever seen in my life. So there’s so many things he brings to the game, and brings to our team, especially last year in the playoffs.”
But Andre Iguodala is the past, and Jrue Holiday hopes to be the future for the Sixers. He’ll finally get to take the full point guard reigns this season. “Growing up that’s what I did. I had the ball in my hands most of the time, making decisions. It’s been a while since I’ve had the ball in my hand making plays. It’s fun man,” Holiday said. “Last year I had to be more of a scorer. That’s what coach was telling me to do. This year I’ve got to make plays. I’ve got to be a distributor.”
The Sixers ended the preseason 6-1, and Holiday is ready for the real games to start. “We’re all excited, we play well together. It’s less than 24 hours now. Even though Sandy came and tried to mess up everything, we’re still excited,” he said.
Tickets are still available for the Sixers opener at sixers.com.