It all appeared to be lining up so harmoniously. On the eve of the 20th anniversary season of the Sixers’ last trip to the NBA Finals, the president of the team’s business operations was teasing a new black jersey.
Not only that, but Chris Heck changed his Twitter avatar to reflect the uniform that a large portion of the Sixers' fanbase was clamoring for, the same jersey which overwhelmingly won a poll Ben Simmons posted to fans on his Twitter feed three years ago.
Instead, Sixers fans got a unique new version of a black jersey for the team's 2020-21 City Edition uniform, but not the classic Iverson-era throwback.
Hey, it’s just a jersey after all. Does it really matter what the Sixers wear on the court as long as they’re winning?
Yes and no.
Of course, the team’s uniform isn’t nearly as significant as what the players do while they’re wearing the jersey. Fans would take victories even if the players rocked high heels and balloon animals around their waists.
But if you’re going to put the effort forth, don’t string the fanbase along with silhouettes of Iverson teasing a jersey release and team employees switching their avatars to pander to the masses.
That’s where the disconnect begins for me as it pertains to what the team wants to do and what the fanbase is looking for and expects.
You don’t need to package and use Iverson to accentuate or represent nostalgia. It’s unnecessary and dulls his luster. It perpetuates the idea that the organization thinks that often the solution to creating momentum and buzz is to roll out Bubba Chuck.
His only connection to the new uniforms is the fact that these are the Sixers' first primarily black jerseys since 2008-09, and the smooth ebony uniforms of his era. Yet, he’s doing voiceover work on promos, social media teasers and mock-ups of his “Respect The Game” SLAM magazine cover from over 20 years ago.
Putting “The Answer” aside, the choice of Boathouse Row as a featured landmark was an interesting one. The creators wanted to choose a Philly landmark which took “on a new life at night” according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
Boathouse Row does fit that ideal well, but honestly, I don’t know many Sixers fans who have actually been inside any of those boathouses to appreciate Boathouse Row for more than something you see driving on 76. I was born and raised in Philadelphia and I’ve been inside one of those boathouses once.
Yes, they’re beautiful all lit up at night, especially during the holiday season. Although, I wouldn’t say that landmark reflects the blue-collar culture and fanbase who religiously supports this team.
The throwback Iverson-era uniforms have that ingrained in them because of the people who played in those jerseys and the earned nostalgia that goes with.
You can’t just arbitrarily connect the past and present because both uniforms are the color black. That’s tenuous at best.
Again, a slight disconnect in my eyes from what the organization wants and who makes up this Sixers fanbase.
Yes, it’s just a jersey, but sometimes it’s more than that. Sixers fans want something to be proud about. They want bragging rights and ammunition to talk smack with fans from other teams. They want to win and make sure they have something tangible to show for all of those awful losing seasons of “The Process.”
What these new uniforms represent more than anything is that people realize they’ll have to wait even longer for the black jerseys from the Sixers’ 2001 Eastern Conference championship season they’ve bellowed about so often.
Sometimes for fans, it simply helps to think that the organization is actually listening to your pleas and requests. If those classic black Iverson-era uniforms don’t return at some point this season, it’s clear the Sixers are not listening.