Morey says not every NBA player is built for Philly originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
It isn’t easy to be a professional athlete. Many fans don’t truly appreciate all it takes to be the best of the best on the planet at a particular set of skills, and to be able to display those skills in front of thousands in the stands, and millions watching at home around the world, over and over and over again.
Hard doesn’t begin to describe it.
But is it harder being a professional athlete for a Philadelphia team? Do the fans make it harder to perform your best? Does the media make it more difficult? Are our demands unreasonable compared with those of other places?
According to Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, some players seem to think so.
Morey was a guest on a recent Takeoff with John Clark podcast and was asked his biggest surprise since joining the Sixers 22 months ago.
“I’d say the biggest surprise [is] the players who can’t play here," he said with a laugh. "It’s actually not helpful to me. I really ... the more options I have, the better. But I do think I’m starting to learn. I do love it about Philadelphia because I do think it gets the best out of our team, and I’ve seen it. Not only with our team but with the Eagles, and the Phillies.
“And I never understood this being in Houston when people would say, ‘You need to have a special mindset to pay in Philly.’ ... I do think, I really do pay attention to the mindset of players ... can they handle playing in Philadelphia, because I do think it’s a different thing.”
While Morey doesn’t come right out and say it, you can tell what he means.
Philly fans want two things out of their athletes: effort and accountability. On this, they have never wavered. And if you lack either one, they will let you know that they know, in no uncertain terms.
To that end, it takes a bit more mental toughness to play here. All we ask is all you have.
Everyone is allowed to have a bad day at the office, a bad week, a bad month. It happens. But own it. Stand tall, and say that you’ll try to do better, that you’re working on what is wrong, and you will do your best to fix it. That’s really all fans want.
Maybe the fans didn’t ask as much of the players in Houston. I doubt it, but they sure don’t go about asking the way Philly fans do.
We’re just doing our part. Because we are who we are as fans, we’re thinning out the herd, so that only the strongest (or craziest) will want to come to play in Philadelphia. Feel free to thank us at any time.
If you’re running a team, do you even want a player on your roster where a fear of failure could be a possibility? Morey dealt with that front and center not that long ago.
It might be for the best that players who don’t think they can play well in front of Philadelphia fans go somewhere else.