The Phillies' season-opening win at Washington's Nationals Park, which was dominated by Phils fans, was one of yesterday's big stories.
Tiger Woods talking at Augusta was another, and Duke facing off against Cinderella team Butler in the NCAA men's basketball championship in Indianapolis was up there also.
Perhaps tops among all, though, was the trade of Eagles franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins. It was even the main subject at 76ers practice yesterday at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Coach Eddie Jordan grew up in the Washington area. Proclaims himself to be a Redskins fan, though his job does preclude him from keeping up with all the news surrounding his favorite football team.
"It's excitement, I guess, for the Redskins," Jordan said. "And we'll see what goes from there. That's part of what sports is about, for entertainment one way or the other. Whether you're watching it and enjoying it, or you talk about it the day after or whether you have a passion for it or you're a casual fan, that's what it's all about. That's what we all know, we're in it and we know that. You just have to take it day by day and move on and get better and do your job."
In his first season in Philadelphia, Jordan certainly has heard the ire of the fan as his team has won just 26 of 76 games. Though he had much success here as a player, McNabb also heard plenty of displeasure from the faithfuls. Something that's expected in this town.
"You don't really know until you're in it," Jordan said of being a part of the Philadelphia sports scene. "And now I know it. And I'm trying to get better at it. There's a passion and everyone has an opinion. I think that's fans everywhere. I said it coming in that it's certainly a special place because they are so passionate and they want championships. If you're not a champion then you're going to hear it."
Forward Andre Iguodala has been a player in this city for 6 years and has witnessed many of the ups and downs of McNabb and the Eagles. Still, the trade was surprising to him.
"We heard about it [possibility of trade] the last couple of weeks, but it's one of those things that you don't believe it until it happens," Iguodala said. "I think people saw it coming. Hopefully he continues to have a great career."
Iguodala saw another sports icon, Allen Iverson, traded late in his career in what was one of the biggest deals in Sixers history.
"It's different dynamics with different types of personalities," Iguodala said. "The guy A.I. was, he kind of had a cult following behind him. But they both had so much success as far as taking their teams to the championship game and barely missing it. A city like Philadelphia really wanted a championship. I think they both had so much success.
"It can be a love-hate relationship," Iguodala said of what it's like playing for Philadelphia fans. "When you're playing really well, the fans like it. When you don't play up to their expectations, it can be rough. But it can be a good learning experience playing in a city like this."
Jordan had a chance to meet Eagles coach Andy Reid and McNabb after he arrived in Philly.
"When I went to a practice and I talked with Andy and I met Donovan, Andy said he is one of the strongest players he has ever known pound-for-pound and that he loved him. His record and numbers speak for themselves, obviously."
There was a long list of players hindered by injuries at practice, though none is very serious. Most notably, Thaddeus Young, who has been out since March 15 with a fractured right thumb, will be a game-time decision when the Sixers host the Detroit Pistons tonight at the Wachovia Center. Sam Dalembert (hip) and Andre Iguodala (plantar fasciitis) did not participate fully yesterday but are likely to play tonight.
Guard Lou Williams said he felt fine after playing for the first time in six games on Saturday against the Toronto Raptors. His lower-back pain seems to be a thing of the past, for now.
"It felt good, I played with a lot of energy," Williams said. "I felt like I was in good condition, good shape. It's one of those weird things where it [the pain] just goes away."
With a busy game schedule ahead, Jordan is looking to give his team some rest in the season's home stretch.
"We had a good schedule today, we went live," the coach said. "Moving forward, with four games in 5 days we'll save their legs, try to have a lot of energy for the games."
Sixers rookie guard Jrue Holiday will wear a wireless microphone from warmups through the end of the game tonight. His comments will be broadcast throughout the game and on "Sixers Postgame Live" on Comcast SportsNet. This is the first time Comcast SportsNet has miked up a Sixers player during a regular-season game.
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