There he was, tall and dominating, walking down through the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, meeting and greeting with the fans and media who will be following him ever so closely this upcoming season. This, my friends, is what excitement looks like in the city of Philadelphia when it comes to basketball, and the excitement is being provided in the form of Andrew Bynum.
Let's not try to take away from Jason Richardson, who was also at this afternoon's press conference, but Bynum came away impressing everybody. While not wanting to say too much about his future, he did say he was excited to be back on the East Coast and close to home.
In regards to being the number one option in a city, Bynum said, "I haven't been treated like this yet. I've always played with Kobe and Pau and they've kind of been the forefront guys. I've kind of been in the background so now it's a new opportunity and I'm looking forward to it."
The fans loved every moment of the press conference and seemed to be chomping at the bit to hear if Bynum was interested in staying past this season. While he didn't lead anyone on too much, he said he was "leaning towards making this home."
It's a pleasant thing to hear for Sixers fans, who have been looking for someone like Bynum to step in and man the paint. The comparisons to Moses Malone reigned down from media members, but they seemed more like appropriated excitement and optimism than a belief in some false hope. Bynum is the future in Philadelphia, if he can sign.
We won't overlook Richardson either, who genuinely seemed excited about the atmosphere as well. He is under contract for the next three seasons.
This day was, indeed, about Bynum. And, while the giddiness for Bynum existed, there was also plenty of praise from the fans for owners Adam Aron and Josh Harris, the two men who have put the 76ers back on the map in this city with their latest wheeling and dealing. While many may have believed the Sixers were content heading into the season with their current roster, when Bynum became an option, the Sixers went after him. It did cost Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkless, Nik Vucevic, and a first round pick, but Aron and Harris are serious about this one.
After all, they did just trade a whole bunch of assets to get the best center in the game not named Dwight Howard, who will now be alongside Kobe and Pau in L.A.
Meanwhile, about 3,000 miles away in the city where our founders created this country and in a building that stands there to honor them, there was genuine passion and borderline insanity as the open-air press conference gave fans a chance to react. At times, it felt like a rabid WWE event more than anything. Philly fans just want a winner. Now it's time for Bynum, Richardson, Aron, Harris, and the rest of the crew to deliver that winner.
Sources: CSNPhilly.com/The 700 Level
Victor Filoromo is a featured contributor for Yahoo! and also contributes to PhuturePhillies.com, a Phillies' prospect blog. He grew up just outside of Philadelphia, and enjoys Philadelphia sports, media, and politics. You can follow him on Twitter @victorfiloromo.