Talk about being hit over the head with symbolism.

The Sixers didn't go with a franchise legend like Allen Iverson, Julius Erving or Charles Barkley to ring their ceremonial Liberty Bell before tip-off of their season opener vs. the Celtics. They didn't look to someone from another sport or outside the world of sports, either.

Instead, the team had Al Horford do the honors.

Horford, who signed a four-year deal with the Sixers in July, admitted Tuesday it would be "very surreal" to face his old team on opening night. This moment was something more extreme than surreal.

A new era has officially begun.

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