PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Another sign that things are starting to return to normal is fans back at sporting events. Last weekend, it was the Flyers, this weekend, Sixers fans will be back in the stands.
In November 2019, Ben Simmons confessed: The Sixers are scared to lose in front of the home fans.
The three-time All-Star said it with a laugh, but thousands will have plenty to smile about Sunday.
It will have been 368 days between home games with fans for the Sixers — a streak that will come to an end Sunday with the return of fans against the Spurs.
Three thousand fans will be allowed inside Wells Fargo Center Sunday separated by at least six feet in the stands.
Like the Flyers, the Sixers are asking fans to come early to avoid crowding into entrances, ordering concessions on your phone, and maintaining social distancing.
76ers President Chris Heck has been helping work toward this date. The team has one of the best home records in the NBA without fans, so they know the return of fans will be a huge strategic boost for the rest of the season and the playoffs.
“If you can put the blinders on and pretend there are fans there but still allow yourself to be entertained, we’ve been doing it for our players and for our homecourt advantage. But you can’t replicate the Philly fan,” Heck said.
Home court would be a big deal for this team. It’s been 20 years since the Sixers finished atop the Eastern Conference.
That season ended with a very famous stepover and NBA Finals defeat.