76ers

Remembering Allen Iverson's famous step over Tyronn Lue in 2001 NBA Finals

Remembering Allen Iverson's famous step over Tyronn Lue in 2001 NBA Finals

It's one of the most memorable plays in franchise history. Heck, it's one of the most memorable plays in Philadelphia sports history.

Allen Iverson stepped over Tyronn Lue in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals on this day, June 6, 18 years ago. The 76ers would go on to win that game but Lue and the Los Angeles Lakers would go on to win every game of that series after it and hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy as NBA Champions.

The Sixers haven't returned to the Finals since then but the A.I. moment lives on in the hearts minds of all Philly fans. Iverson even mentioned Lue in his Hall of Fame induction speech.

You can relive the memorable moment in the above video.

Tobias Harris remembers his hero Kobe Bryant

Tobias Harris remembers his hero Kobe Bryant

CAMDEN, N.J. — Sneaker choice is a big deal for NBA players. There’s Nike, Jordan, Under Armor, Adidas. If you go through the Sixers’ locker room, there’s a decent mix. While guys may stick to a brand, they don’t all necessarily stick with one style or a signature player shoe.

If you go to Tobias Harris’ locker, it’s the same every time: He’s wearing a version of the Nike Mambas.

The entire basketball world was shaken with the news that NBA great Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabassas, California.

“He was my hero as a kid,” Harris said. “Hearing about him getting up at 6 in the morning to go work out and being the first in the gym, those things inspired me as a player coming up. I really try to model my work ethic after a guy like Kobe. It’s sad news to hear. … I heard the news and just really couldn’t believe it.”

Harris and Al Horford spoke, along with head coach Brett Brown and GM Elton Brand, at the team's practice facility Monday. 

A veteran in his ninth season, Harris’ career intersected with Bryant for a couple years. As a kid, Harris grew up rooting for those Lakers teams led by Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Even then, Harris said he was modeling his work ethic after Bryant's.

While he played against him a couple times during his career, Harris got an extraordinary opportunity during this past offseason.

This summer I got to go out to L.A. with a group of 15 guys and we were working out two-a-days,” Harris said. “During those two-a-days, I got a chance to talk to him, communicate with him and pick his brain on some different things basketball wise. That for me was like a dream come true, being able to get lessons from Kobe — that was once in a lifetime. And those dialogues, those communications, I’ll never forget.

Despite Bryant's untimely death, the league made the decision to carry out its slate of games Sunday. It was an emotional night around the NBA as teams and players honored the future Hall of Famer in a variety of ways.

The Sixers have a game to play Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors. In the city where Bryant was born, it’s sure to be an emotional night. Harris said the team has discussed ways to honor Bryant but didn’t divulge them Monday.

While the emotions will still likely be raw, Harris will look to getting to play the game he loves as therapy.

A lot of emotions overweigh a lot of things,” Harris said. “Basketball has always been a peaceful place for me. Even being out there today and practicing, it was kind of relaxing to just get out there and compete, and I believe it was probably the exact same way for Kobe. Just to be able to go out there and be around teammates and use that competitive fire. … It’s always good to play the game and love the game on top of that stuff off the court.

Like so many other players already have, Harris will likely have a message and show of respect for Bryant on whichever style of Mambas he’ll be wearing.

And he’ll carry the memories of the past summer and the conversations he shared with Bryant.

“He was telling me he pulls for the Lakers heavy, but he was telling me, ‘Man, I love Philly. Philly’s my home,’ that’s what he told me. I knew he was watching the game, us vs. the Lakers [on Saturday], and I knew he was impressed with our play. … The whole timeline is surreal to me.”

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Sixers reflect on the life of Kobe Bryant

Sixers reflect on the life of Kobe Bryant

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers will play a basketball game tomorrow, at 7 p.m. against the Golden State Warriors.

They understandably didn’t field questions about that game Monday. The team instead was focused on the tragic deaths on Sunday of 41-year-old Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

After meeting as a team and sharing their personal stories about Bryant, a few Sixers also talked about Bryant with the media following practice. 

GM Elton Brand on the tragic crash and on Bryant

“My condolences to [his wife] Vanessa, his family, all the families that lost their loved ones in the tragic accident yesterday. Kobe meant a lot. Kobe meant a lot to us all. It wasn’t just what he accomplished but how he accomplished it — how he worked, his tenacity, his passion, getting the most out of his talent. … We all lost someone that was special to us, special to this area, special to the league. We’ll try to commemorate him tomorrow and hopefully show how much this area loved him and continue to do so. It’s a tough time for the area, tough time for the organization, and he will certainly be missed.”

Al Horford on his memories of Bryant

“With Kobe, the two things that really stand out to me are his competitiveness on the floor, and I told this to the group, just that fear that he used to put in his opponent's eyes. The only way you would know that is [if] you got to go and play against him. Very few players have that. He had it. He was just such a competitor and it was something that I always admire and respect. I don't want to make this about anything but to honor him. At another time, I'll share things about me and him, but right now it's just remembering him and his greatness.”

Horford on his reaction to the news

“Just disbelief. I didn't think it was true. Coming to grips with that, it's something hard to grasp. Right away, I was with my family at the time and my wife said to me, putting things in perspective, imagine how his wife feels right now, his family, so that just had us in a very tough place yesterday just thinking about that.”

Head coach Brett Brown on a story he told the team

“I had the chance a few years ago in his farewell tour to sit in my office [with him] for 45 minutes alone and just talk Philly hoops. Ironically, my son goes to Lower Merion High School, he plays for [Bryant’s] high school coach, [Gregg Downer]. The thing that came out of that for me, just sitting there talking with him, it was an easy, real conversation. He cared, he was engaged — it wasn’t something he had to do. He came back and we just talked. 

“We had some friends and experiences in the Olympics and so on that we could speak about, but he talked lots about his family. He blew me away talking about — I said, ‘What’s life for you afterwards now?’ And he started talking about animation. He was really involved with animation and he had this desire to get involved with kids’ literacy, and the connections he would have had with his Hollywood and Los Angeles life. He just was in the game. Even when he was about to leave the game, he was in life, he lived it. You could see in his face, he had a glow. It was a genuine, transparent conversation.”

Brown on game planning against Bryant 

“You would see, it was with like six minutes in the third period, he was just like, ‘I’m going to grab the game.’ He’d come out and be Mr. Unselfish and facilitator and kumbaya, and all of a sudden the game’s on the line … and he would just grab games. You could just see it in his face.

"So, game planning for him was as difficult as for any of the great players you’ve had to do it for. It just all goes back to that amazing mental toughness, amazing laser, assassin-like, ‘I’m going to go win this game. I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to win games.’ And he really acted and played like that.”