In a town of winning sports franchises the Philadelphia 76ers can't seem to put a winning streak together to save their lives.
That kind of record might be OK for flyover country. But it doesn't cut the mustard on a streetside soft pretzel in Philadelphia.
Because Philly sports fans are tough.
And they've been indulged.
They're used to winning. They want post-season action. They feel it's their right. They feel entitled.
And who can blame them?
If you were stuck between New York and Washington you'd want to stand out and be recognized, too.
So it's not enough that the Phillies and the Eagles and (often enough) the Flyers are in the playoffs. The fans want to see the Sixers there, too.
The last time The Sixers won the NBA championship was 1983. That's almost 27 years ago. And for Philadelphia, that's way too long.
The result is that there are a lot of empty seats when the Sixers play at Philly's state-of-the-art Wachovia Center.
The Sixers management knows this. It understands.
That's why management is talking to AI - Allen (you should excuse the expression) Iverson.
Sure, when he was last here Iverson was one of the baddies of Philly sports franchises. But Philly sports fans have a love/hate relationship with their bad boys. More often than not they love to hate them. And, they've been known to drive them out of town only to miss them when they're gone. Because Philly can be one badass town.
The possible return of Iverson isn't so much about the technicalities of the game as it is about putting butts in the seats. It's economic and it's somewhat Barnemesque. It's about gettin 'em into the tent.
Yes, there's also raw emotion involved. And yes, raw emotion sells.
So, within the next 24 to 48 hours you may hear that The Sixers have signed Allen Iverson. And The Answer will be in a Sixers uniform faster than you can say "Damn!"
You may love him or you may hate him but you'll be watching him.
And that's what the Sixers are counting on.