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On a sweltering day in August, 1,500 diehard Philadelphia 76ers fans showed up at a press conference to welcome superstar free agent center Andrew Bynum. The optimism coincided with heaping praise from NBA pundits around the league who hailed the acquisition as a chance for the 76ers to take that next step and win a title.
It’s false hope.
Philadelphia breeds passionate sports fans with bipolar emotions toward the city’s teams. I’m one of them. One minute Michael Vick is the greatest athlete of all time and the next, he should be euthanized. Maybe I’m at one extreme right now, but my gut tells me Bynum and Philly will end in disaster. Here are four reasons why:
Bynum has a reputation for … being injured. From 2007-8 to 2010-11, he missed at least 17 games each season due to various knee injuries. He’s sitting again because of a bone bruise and won’t play this season until he’s pain free. Think a guy laying foundation on South Street is going to have sympathy for Bynum, collecting a $16.5 million salary, who won’t play through some pain? Opening day came and went yet Bynum still has not practiced. If Allen Iverson taught us anything, it’s that stars don’t need to talk about practice, but they still have to practice!
Lakers coach Mike Brown benched Bynum in a March game for shooting a three pointer, which Bynum apparently found amusing. “I guess don’t take threes is the message,” Bynum said of the benching. “But I’m going to take some more.” That won’t sit well with Philly fans. In his first game in an Eagles uniform (via San Francisco), Ricky Waters refused to lay out for a pass over the middle. The fans let him have it with a cascade of boos. If Bynum fails to make a good first impression (when he finally does hit the floor), Sixers fans will destroy him with profanity-laced tirades and hearty boos.
He’s awful with the media. Before a playoff game against the Denver Nuggets last season, he said, “Closeout games are actually kind of easy.” Fans obsessed with savvy sports talk will kill Bynum for a comment like that before a big game. A sideshow will follow.
The man’s haircut insults us all. It screams, “I don’t give a f***.” Josh Childress knows how to grow an afro. Bynum just looks like a goof who doesn’t feel like walking to the barber.
Philly fans booed Santa Claus, man. You really think Bynum has a chance? Santa brings joy and presents and he still got run out of town. That said, Santa has never been a beast in the paint. Time is ticking away.