Seltzer's Notebook | City Edition Uniforms Revealed; McConnell-Brown Relationship
Fourth and Final Uniform Revealed
As part of the NBA’s renewed partnership with Nike this season, each of the league’s 30 teams was allowed to create four different sets of jerseys. Wednesday morning, with some social media help from Ben Simmons, the Sixers unveiled their final one, the City Edition uniform.
The Sixers’ City Edition uniform takes several design cues from Philadelphia’s place in history as the cradle of liberty. The lettering and parchment paper color are nods to the Declaration of Independence (signed, of course, in 1776), while the “76” logo found on the City Edition shorts borrows from design themes used for Philadelphia’s 1976 bicentennial celebration. The uniform also contains a circle of 13 stars, representative of the country’s original colonies, and plenty of red, white, and blue.
Proud the @Sixers City Edition uniforms connect the spirit of our revolutionary city and our incredible fans - looking forward to their home game debut on Feb. 2 in @ESPN, @NBCSPhilly and @975TheFanatic broadcast game pic.twitter.com/n4Kd8eCh8s
— Scott O'Neil (@ScottONeil) December 27, 2017
“We’re excited to unveil the ‘City Edition’ uniform for our incredible fans in Philadelphia as we celebrate this city’s rich history and spirit of revolution,” said Chris Heck, President of Business Operations. “With a design inspired by the Declaration of Independence and other historical notes, our City Edition jersey captures the essence of Philadelphia in a manner that can be boldly showcased by the likes of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and the entire 76ers roster.”
The Sixers will first sport their City Edition uniform February 2nd, in a nationally televised match-up on ESPN against the Miami Heat.
Brown, McConnell Share Kinship
Brett Brown is the son of a basketball coach, as is T.J. McConnell.
Brown played point guard up through college, the same position McConnell now makes his living at in the NBA.
Both men boast a hard-working, blue-collar attitude, and similarly go about their business with undeniable passion and respect for the sport.
You add all these factors up, and it’s probably easy to see why, over their last three seasons together, Brown and McConnell have become kindred spirits of sorts, and formed a strong bond.
This same father-son dynamic, however, is also one that allows Brown to ride McConnell a bit, and has given him a good sense of which of the 25-year old’s buttons to push, and when.
Such a situation surfaced Monday at Madison Square Garden, where Brown seized a particular moment to challenge McConnell.
The head coach’s words certainly appeared to light a fire under, as McConnell went on to finish the afternoon with a season-high tying 15 points in the 76ers’ win over the New York Knicks. He ripped off 8 consecutive points to close the third quarter, a stretch that turned the tide of the contest in the Sixers’ favor.
“My dad coached me like that,” McConnell said afterwards, discussing his relationship with Brown. “When I made the team [prior to the 2015-2016 season], we sat down, and he said I’m going to coach you, and that’s why we’re so close. The way he coaches me, he gets on me, and I kind of feed off that, and try to give energy.”
Brown’s approach worked to perfection Monday. He acknowledged that sometimes, his tone with McConnell, an undrafted product out of Arizona, can be a bit testy, even antagonistic. The intent is always pure.
“I coach him harder than I coach anybody,” Brown said Monday, an affectionate smile appearing on his face. “I’m so proud of him coming out of left field, being in the NBA, staying in the NBA, and now playing in the NBA.”
Simmons Catches the Spirit
While the Sixers organization had to wait quite some time - 16 years - to make its return to the NBA’s exclusive Christmas Day stage, Ben Simmons had the chance to play on the holiday his very first season, and seemed to soak up every aspect of it.
Not only did Simmons sport a pair of festive green Nikes during pre-game warm-ups at Madison Square Garden…
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 25, 2017
...he also decided to take it upon himself to spread a little extra holiday cheer to teammates.
When the Sixers arrived in the visitors’ locker room at The Garden Monday morning, they found waiting for them inside their stalls a surprise gift from the rookie point man.
— Brian Seltzer (@brianseltzer) December 25, 2017
Simmons posted a solid 8-point, 8-rebound, 3-assist showing Monday against the Knicks. His steal and subsequent runout dunk with 66 seconds to go essentially clinched the game.
Afterwards, the Aussie sounded like he relished his first NBA Christmas. That he was able to perform in front of those people in his life closest to him only added to the experience.
“I had my family here,” said the 21-year old Simmons. “Having everyone here means more to me than playing.”
Navigating a Challenging Division
Two and a half months into the NBA season, no division has been better than the Atlantic Division, to which the Sixers have long belonged.
As of Wednesday morning, with the Eastern Conference-best Boston Celtics (27-10) leading the way, and fellow Atlantic affiliate Toronto Raptors (23-9) right on their heels, the five clubs within the division, which also includes the Knicks (17-16), Sixers (15-18), and Brooklyn Nets (12-21), had combined for a 60.0 winning percentage. That figure is the highest of any of the six divisions in the league.
“Whether you go to the Celtics, or [Toronto], or here, or us or Brooklyn, it’s a legitimate [division],” Brett Brown said Monday in New York.
Having great respect for the demanding, competitive nature of the NBA, Brown noted he probably wouldn’t say much different if asked about the other five divisions, either.
“It’s the NBA, and I certainly don’t feel like we’re in any position to say this one’s better than the other. I just know that we’ve got great respect for our division.”
The Sixers’ victory over the Knicks Monday marked their first Atlantic Division win of the season.