This off-season was shaping up to be one of the most positive in recent memory for Sixers fans until Team President Chris Heck decided to annoy an entire fan base.

This week the Sixers announced their new city jerseys. The jerseys are fine if unremarkable but they came as a disappointment for Sixers fans who were expecting something more… historic.

Photo: Philadelphia 76ers

Again the jerseys are fine and alternate jersey announcements are almost the definition of small potatoes but from there Sixers President Chris Heck, formerly the front office’s most anonymous member, decided to distract Sixers fans from their disappointment or indifference by actively irritating them.

After the city jerseys received negative reviews online, Heck decided to do an interview with UniWatch to defend the design. Again this is only a city jersey it isn’t a decision that is crucial to the future of the franchise in any way and probably didn’t require a justification, but we got one anyway.

Heck mentioned in the interview that while others involved in the design process liked the Iverson era jerseys fans were hoping to see a return, he hated them. Heck explained “I hated that uniform. Absolutely despised it. And the reason is that it wasn’t traditional, it was that ridiculous silk, the ridiculous larger collar…” and he’s right, the silk was ridiculous and so was the wide shoulders around the collar, but that’s not the point.

Photo: Manny Millian/ SI

The uniform wasn’t traditional, the colors weren’t a part of the franchise’s history, that is until that team made them a part of it. The uniform designs themselves don’t matter, but the team that wore them does. This upcoming season will be the 20th anniversary of the last time a Sixers team made the NBA Finals and while they didn’t win a championship, that team perhaps embodied the spirit of Philadelphia more than any other in franchise history.

The 2000-01 Sixers were underdogs; they were tough, they were blue-collar, they were Rocky, they were “Philly”. As a kid growing up on the other side of the world in Australia I felt like I gained an idea of what the city and the people of Philadelphia were like just from watching that team, I still feel it’s a pretty accurate depiction.

This article was not designed to be an attack on Chris Heck, it’s hard to criticize a man clearly so passionate about the Sixers and their history. Also, his team have gifted Sixers fans with some pretty sweet unis in recent times including these and these. I can understand his criticisms of the Iverson era jerseys but they could have been updated with modern materials and a re-designed collar cut.

In a year in which fans may not get to see their team in person, paying homage to a beloved squad on the anniversary of the franchise’s most successful season in 35 years would have been a better way to connect to the city than boathouse row.
Oh and don’t expect Philly fans to stop calling Philly Philly. Even a kid from Australia knows that’s not going to happen.

Featured Image: @vndsgn
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