It's about as frustrating a game as you'll come across in the NBA, and in the wake of several superstar departures (departures we referenced earlier on Friday), you're going to see a few of these instances in 2012-13. It's the first time the old team takes on the new team, but in the new team's arena. The old team can ship away its star, and then "welcome" him back a few months later at the home arena with a chorus of boos and underdog's fervor on its side; those are fine. It's when the old team has to visit the new team's arena, with their old superstar lining up for the other side … that's the tough one.
Such was the case in 1993, when a moribund Philadelphia 76ers team traveled to Phoenix to take on the Suns; a team that traded for Charles Barkley during the previous offseason. The Sixers were terrible, they hadn't recouped much of anything in the Barkley transaction, they worked in awful uniforms that don't even boast a retro appeal nearly two decades on, and the Suns rudely welcomed them by storming out of the gates with a 43-29 run during the first quarter. Forty-three points in 12 minutes. It was that sort of night. And that sort of 76er team.
That team, plus Manute Bol. Who started the second half for a 76ers team featuring a roster full of shrugged shoulders, and nearly shot his team all the way back in it with a ridiculous six 3-pointers in the second half. And, because it's late September and absolutely nothing else is going on within the NBA right now, we've decided to revisit that night:
One wonders if Andrew Bynum will try the same maneuver, upon his first visit to Los Angeles.
Rest in peace, Manute.
- Sports & Recreation