Students talk back about the Sixers

By Ryan Mulloy
November 15, 2001

Renee Di Pietro

When the Philadelphia 76ers season started on the Oct. 30, 2001, something was missing from the team. Their first game, against the Minnesota Timberwolves ended in a 74-83 loss. The Sixers went on to lose their next four games to the Dallas Mavericks, the Houston Rockets, the Indiana Pacers and the Washington Wizards, with a returning Michael Jordan.

There have been odd line-ups for the Sixers, as opposed to last year. Last year, the common names were Eric Snow, Aaron McKie and Dikembe Mutombo, who was traded to the Sixers last year. This year, starting players are the younger names like Speedy Claxton, Raja Bell and the returning Derrick Coleman. There was some question in the mind of Sixers fans everywhere. Well now that question has the answer.

Allen Iverson, last season’s Most Valuable Player, returned to the hard word floor to help assist the Sixers with a victory of Dallas. Iverson, who had been out due to his constant elbow problems, managed to help lead the team to a 98-91 victory with 18 points, nine assists, four rebounds and two steals.

“Iverson is a big factor to the Sixers,” first year student Ryan Norris said, “He has skills and he plays good basketball.” Norris also believes in the younger players, like Bell and Claxton. While he said Bell has not been doing badly since the start of the season, he does agree that the leadership of Iverson can better organize the team and get everyone at their best.

Iverson’s ability to bring out the best in his team is evident, through comments his fellow players have made. McKie has stated in several interviews that Iverson is a team leader and frees up his chances to play other positions on the court. A major highlight in the game with Dallas was Iverson’s over-the-shoulder pass to McKie.

Loyal Sixers fan Michael Sofia, a first year student that lives in Philadelphia, is happy with the Sixers’ line-up. “I feel there is a perfect blend of talent and age with the experience of Coleman and Mutombo. They provide the team with idea, but there is no question that Iverson is the team leader,” Sofia said.

Iverson continues to lead the Sixers and will take them to a confrontation with the Atlanta Hawks, Mutombo’s former running mates, on Friday, Nov. 16. The Sixers will complete their weekend with a game in New Jersey, taking on the New Jersey Nets. The game in New Jersey will be the Sixers’ first game with former center Todd MacCulloch, who left the organization over the summer. “Maybe with Iverson, they can win a few more here and there,” sophomore Lou Verdecchio said.

The big news for Sixers and Iverson fans alike is the return game with Washington. On Nov. 28, Jordan and the Wizards will come to the First Union Center to take another shot with the Sixers, who lost the opening confrontation 76-90. “I can’t wait to see him on the courts with Jordan,” Sofia said.

With Iverson on the court, perhaps the Sixers can get past Jordan this time around. Sofia wishes them the best of luck this season and hopes Iverson can take home the MVP trophy again.

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Ryan Mulloy

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