Marc Zumoff

Hal Greer made Marc Zumoff fall in love with 76ers basketball

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Hal Greer made Marc Zumoff fall in love with 76ers basketball

For a chunky, relatively non-athletic kid growing up in Northeast Philly, Hal Greer was my salvation. 

He was the first player I picked out as I tried to watch 76ers basketball on TV — his style and his play somehow impactful amidst the snow and squiggly lines of a black-and-white, over-the-air signal on something called UHF. 

His number was 15 and he’s why I love 76ers basketball. Greer died on Saturday. He was 81. 

Greer’s game was compact and efficient, yet fluid and entertaining. He played in an era when guards were guards, the terms “point” and “off” yet to become permanent parts of the basketball lexicon. So along with a jump shot that had perfect form, he was a good passer and diligent defender.  Oh and the jump shot … it was so good, he used it to shoot free throws, going 80 percent from the line for his career. 

Though understated on the floor, as a young kid, I picked up on everything Greer did. He often wore this contraption on his left thigh, for what reason I don’t know. But when I made up games bouncing a rubber ball in my basement or playing with friends in a half-court in front of my house, my thigh was also wrapped, a whimsical achievement utilizing a roll of white plastic tape I stole from my father’s tool box.    

Later in life, when I became the halftime host for Sixers basketball on the old PRISM network, I interviewed Greer for some feature work, only to revel in my off-camera time with him, when I could tell him how much he meant to me growing up. When I became the TV voice in 1994, I’d hope to see him at some point on the 82 game tour, only to be told he’d had “some sort of beef” with the organization and instead went reclusive, living “somewhere in Phoenix.”  

But whatever issues Greer may have had with the team, he relented, agreeing to come to Philly just last year when the club marked the 50th anniversary of the Sixers winning the title. It would be my last chance to grab his hand, look him in the eye, and tell him the inspiration he was to me. 

He then made my night by telling me he was very familiar with my work, that he watched Sixers basketball all the time on TV. And at once, all the emotions of my childhood came flooding back.  

Allen Iverson raves about Ben Simmons playing beyond his years

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Allen Iverson raves about Ben Simmons playing beyond his years

The voice of the Sixers, Marc Zumoff, hooked up with perhaps the most famous Sixer of all-time, Allen Iverson, to talk about Brett Brown's team that is poised to take Philly to the playoffs for the first time in years.

Iverson was a guest on Zoo's Views podcast this week and spoke about "his little dudes," his loving name for the current Sixers squad.

Ben Simmons is a guy who sticks out for not looking like a rookie.

"I see someone who is a great player far beyond his age," Iverson said. "You don't usually see a player with that mindset. The athletic ability, you see it all the time, but his mindset, he plays the game the right way."

"At times out there he looks like he's been in this league for years and he's a rookie. That's very unique for a guy to come in and be so unselfish, caring about the team, and having every aspect of his game getting better. You can tell he gets better all the time. You can see when people tries to take things from him, he still gets it done."

As for The Answer's advice for today's Sixers, it's all about sticking together.

"I think the sky is the limit for this team. We should want it now but if not my message to them would be to not get frustrated in the process. Understand that there will be some learning experiences. There will be some ups and downs. Stick together, believe in each other night in and night out. Win together, lose together, laugh together, and cry together. I'm looking forward to these coming playoffs. Win four games and we on to the next."

You can listen to the full conversation between Zoo and A.I. below or download and subscribe to Zoo's Views right here.

2:00 — Iverson’s thoughts on this year’s team?
3:00 — Big fan of Brett Brown ... Reminds him of Popovich ... And Larry Brown
5:00 — Ben Simmons plays like a veteran
8:00 — Embiid is great for Sixers and the NBA as a whole
9:30 — Would he have been big on social media if it existed during his career?
10:30 — How would a 30-year-old Allen Iverson fit in with this Sixers team?
12:00 — He would’ve been a better player with this roster
12:20 — Advice for this team

Joel Embiid's freakish frame requires a unique training plan

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Joel Embiid's freakish frame requires a unique training plan

The voice of the Sixers, Marc Zumoff, sat down with the team's head strength and conditioning coach, Todd Wright, to chat about many aspects of his job, including the challenge of working with a guy with a body as big and powerful as Joel Embiid.

As Wright explained it, Embiid has gone through quite the journey in terms of understanding his frame and the care that is needed to keep it at top form.

“Joel has had a great transformation in understanding the importance of taking care of yourself," Wright said. “Joel is such a unique athlete in the sense that he’s 7-foot-2 and he’s very large and very powerful."

Having such a unique body means it works a bit differently than an average human. The electricity firing through such a bigger muscle system takes longer and can fatigue a bit faster, as Wright explains it.

"[Joel's] parameters in understanding the frequency of training, the rest that's required to repair all of those things, that was a work in progress for all of us, to really understand just how unique he was. The organization has done an incredible job putting a team around him with some of the smartest people in the world. As we've gotten to know Joel, I think our strategies have gotten stronger and stronger and our ability to educate him has gotten better and better."

Zoo tried to get some specifics out of him, but Wright kept the actual plan and action items pretty generic.

He said the Sixers attempt to boil down Embiid's action plan to: managing sleep, nutrition, balancing court work and weight room work, and creating better habits.

It's a process, albeit a complicated one.

Wright also spoke about his unique relationship with Kevin Durant and KD's incredible drive. You can listen to the whole podcast below.