76ers

Sixers' Ben Simmons, Jonah Bolden pledge support to those affected by bushfires in Australia

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Sixers' Ben Simmons, Jonah Bolden pledge support to those affected by bushfires in Australia

DALLAS — As Australian NBA players have watched bushfires ravage over 12 million acres of their country from afar, Ben Simmons, Jonah Bolden, Aron Baynes (Phoenix Suns), Ryan Broekhoff (Dallas Mavericks), Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz), Thon Maker (Detroit Pistons), Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs), Matthew Dellavedova and Dante Exum (Cleveland Cavaliers) all started a group chat about what they could do to help.

Partnering with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the nine players will contribute $750,000 USD toward relief and recovery efforts in support for their country, which is braving through devastation that is far from over.  

Simmons, who's experienced having to evacuate from bushfires as a kid in South Wales, explained the destruction is on "another level."

“I’ve seen pictures and videos and can’t imagine being back home right now,” he said.

“The sheer size of what’s going on,” Bolden explained of the fires that have swept through an area nearly the size of Austria. “The amount of people being affected by it, the wildlife.”

According to the Associated Press, 27 people have died nationwide, and about half a billion animals have been affected, and those numbers will continue to grow.

“Being away while this is happening is obviously devastating,” Bolden said of wanting to be in his country to help. “I just saw something about the U.S. fire fighters that just landed there to help out with the Australian fire fighters.”

For Bolden, he’s trying to focus on what he can do, rather than what he can’t.

“My whole thing is trying to turn it into a positive," he said. "The way I’m trying to look at it is starting with us coming together for the immediate response and continuing that effort for the reform and rebuild. The immediate response is putting out the fires, but then it’s, ‘What can we do next?’ How can we turn it into a positive thing?”

The efforts will continue Saturday night as the Sixers take on the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Both Simmons and Bolden will stand alongside Mavs forward Broekhoff as he addresses the crowd before the game.

“It says who we are as Australians,” Simmons said. “We are going to stick together when our country needs you. We are a very proud country and we come together in times of need.”

It’s bigger than basketball.

“You have people all over the world, you want to think that when things aren’t going their way that other people want to help and continue to build that world love," he said.

For information on how to get involved and to donate, visit here.

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Sixers Home School: Allen Iverson's 55-point playoff performance is worth reliving

Sixers Home School: Allen Iverson's 55-point playoff performance is worth reliving

There's a lot of home schooling going on right now, so why not use some of this time to learn more about the history of your favorite teams? In this edition of Sixers Home School, we look back at the night Allen Iverson set a Sixers single-game playoff scoring record. 

Allen Iverson wasn’t known for being efficient, but he sure was in the opening game of the 2003 playoffs.

He scored 55 points against the Hornets on 21 for 32 shooting (10 of 11 from the foul line), and also had eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. It’s tied for the sixth-most points ever in an NBA playoff game and is still the most by a Sixer — Wilt Chamberlain scored 56 in 1962 as a member of the Philadelphia Warriors. It doesn’t look like a record that will be broken anytime soon, with no player on the current Sixers roster ever having scored more than 49 points (Joel Embiid) in an NBA game. 

Let’s highlight six plays from the video above: 

At the 1:50 mark, Iverson finds a trailing Keith Van Horn, who knocks down a three-pointer. That would be the only three a Sixer besides Iverson made in the game. The other Sixers combined to shoot 15 for 45 (33.3 percent), and that mark was boosted by a 6-for-9 performance by Aaron McKie off the bench. This is a game the Sixers would have lost if Iverson was anything other than great. 

''I didn't know what it would take for us to win,'' Iverson told reporters. ''Just playing the game like it was my last, that's the only thing I thought about and the only thing I think about before every game.'' 

3:58: Just listen to the “Ohhh!” from the crowd as Iverson dishes a leaping behind-the-back pass to Tyrone Hill, then waits a couple of seconds before finding Hill for a dunk. The fans were entranced.

4:10: The simplicity here catches your eye, and it’s familiar to anyone who watched Iverson in his prime on the Sixers. End of the quarter, give him a ball screen, let him go to work. He does just that, sinking a contested long two. Though he’d probably be pushed to shoot less of these kind of shots if he played in the modern NBA, his ability to use a screen and make something happen would be valuable in any era. 

9:06: Iverson played off the defense’s expectations and took advantage of the attention he received very well. Here, McKie loops up to the top of the key and Iverson almost looks like he’s a high school football star again for a second, juking Stacey Augmon. With Augmon expecting him to move toward the baseline off Kenny Thomas’ screen, Iverson instead darts down the lane and lays it in off McKie's pass. 

10:01: Marv Albert exclaims “What a move!” here, and he’s not wrong. With that said, notice how Iverson, after rejecting Van Horn’s screen, gives Augmon a little shove with his left arm to create space. Though he was at least half a foot shorter than Augmon, the skinny Iverson was excellent at shielding off defenders and even pushing them out of his air space when he thought he could get away with it. 

11:14: The Sixers are up six up with 17.9 seconds to go — it’s clear they’re going to win the game at this point. Iverson has just scored points 54 and 55 by driving past former teammate George Lynch and floating the ball in over P.J. Brown off his right foot. He closes his eyes, raises his arms, puts a hand to his ear and proudly displays the "Sixers" logo on his chest. Though the Sixers would ultimately fall in the next round to the Pistons, losing Game 6 in overtime, this was the kind of night that made you believe Iverson could again carry the Sixers on a deep run. 

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Al Horford makes a donation for coronavirus relief in Dominican Republic, regions where he's played in United States

Al Horford makes a donation for coronavirus relief in Dominican Republic, regions where he's played in United States

Al Horford has donated $500,000 to support coronavirus relief in the Dominican Republic, as well as in each region of the United States where he's played for a team, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Horford’s father Tito was the first Dominican-born NBA player, and Al was born in the country. The family later moved to Michigan, where Horford attended Grand Ledge High School. He went to the University of Florida and has played for three NBA cities — Atlanta, Boston and Philadelphia. 

Several other members of the Sixers organization have also made charitable donations during the coronavirus pandemic. Joel Embiid has pledged to donate $500,000 to COV-19 medical relief efforts. Ben Simmons launched “The Philly Pledge,” an initiative which encourages donations to Philabundance and the PHL COVID-19 Fund that’s received support from a wide range of Philadelphia athletes, among them teammates Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris, Norvel Pelle and Marial Shayok. 

Sixers managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer have made several donations related to coronavirus relief, including to Philabundance and to CHOP and Cooper Hospital.

Limited partner Michael Rubin aims to have his company Fanatics produce a million masks and gowns for hospital and emergency healthcare workers. 

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