Was one of the 12,676 (paid) sports fans who watched the Sixers play last night. Embarassed to say, but this was the first NBA game I remember going to. Couldn't get or afford Celtics tickets growing up, so my only brush with then-greatness was having Sam Jones live in my town, and I'd see him once or twice a year taking his son (Aubrey?) to Little League. When he left the team, he sold his house to the Reggie Smith, as I remember, so we still had at least one black family. I wouldn't pay to see the green these days.
What surprised me last night? Aside from the typical geezer reactions? ("They look like kids," I said to The Professor, who has season tickets and sported me one in exchange for beers and a gruesome Italian sausage floated in some sort of pale yellow medium. "They are kids," he replied.)
That the music never stops - except for during foul shots. That people of all colors turn out and mix naturally. That when I was looking for what the arena reminded me of, I first thought the circus, and then settled on Blade Runner's LA of the near-future where ads appear on every surface, and something crams every corner of the streetscape, and vies for your attention. That the band of light that rings the hall and showed shards of the American flag during the Anthem is used to flash ads for the rest of the game. That Allen Iverson plays harder than anyone I've seen since late '70s Springsteen.
Afterward, Glen MacNow was asking callers on WIP-AM why the turnout was so low. (It was 60-percent full, if that) Yeah, mid-week; yeah a weak Portland team with no brand-name players; yeah the holiday had just passed. But Philadelphians seem to give up on teams they don't think will win it all, MacNow argued. Is that it? I thought it was great entertainment, although If you'd asked me to pay $52 for my seat I might still be thinking about it.