It took 19 games, but the Philadelphia 76ers won their first game of the season.
With the win, the 76ers avoided setting the mark for consecutive losses to start the season, which they had tied with their most recent loss. However, when you combine this year’s start with losing 10 consecutive games to end last season, the 76ers did set the record for most consecutive losses in any of the four major professional sports, at 28 games.
I’m sure it’s not easy on the players or the coaches to deal with so many losses.
After all, the players are among an elite group of people who can play professional basketball, and were likely used to being on the winning side in most games they had played prior to this. It seems like they are building a good nucleus of players, but they are still quite young, and it may take another year before they can compete on a daily basis with the other teams in the league.
It probably takes a special kind of coach as well to deal with such a situation. It’s easy to coach when your team is winning, but how do you keep your players focused and their confidence in themselves at a high level through a 28-game losing streak? It seems as if Coach Brett Brown is better suited than most for such a job.
The game tonight also happened to be the first one I watched, flipping back and forth between that game and the Villanova-St. Joe’s game, which Nova won.
It’s been a rough year for the pro sports team in Philly. The Phillies had the worst record in all of baseball this past season, the Eagles were embarrassed in their last two games, the Flyers, prior to their current two-game winning streak, were tied for the fewest wins in the entire NHL, and the Sixers, well, we all know how well they are doing.
So it’s hard to argue with the title of a recent USA Today article, “Right Now, Philadelphia is the saddest pro sports city in America right now.” It’s so bad, that at one point last week, the Phillies, despite having the worst record in baseball last year, had the highest winning percentage among the four Philly pro sports teams. The Phillies winning percentage was .389, the Flyers were at .388, the Eagles at .364, and well, the Sixers were at .000.
So that’s why it’s worth celebrating any win that comes our way, particularly when it’s your first one of the season.
Perhaps this is just what the city needed, and now the Eagles can head into Foxborough on Sunday and keep the streak going (insert canned laughter).
Special note: tonight was also Kobe Bryant’s final game in Philadelphia, his hometown. The Philly fans showed their love and respect for Kobe throughout the game, and I wish him the best. He has been my favorite NBA player of the past 15 years, and certainly one of the best of all time. I loved his competitiveness, his love of the game, and his commitment to always wanting to improve. He will be missed.
And one final note, despite the futility of Philly sports teams, they will always be my teams. Go Philly!