There’s a feeling in Philadelphia that Sixers fans have not felt since the days of Allen Iverson.

The Sixers, nearly halfway through the season, are still holding onto the top spot in the Eastern Conference in large part because of Joel Embiid.

There is a legitimate shot that the hometown 76ers can compete for an NBA Finals appearance, their first since 2001.

The 2001 Sixers were led by “the Answer” Allen Iverson. Iverson was once a highly touted high school prospect in the mid-’90s and turned into an icon across the entire world while dawning a Sixers uniform in the 2000s. Iverson is the reason many NBA players today picked up a basketball.

Iverson, while certainly controversial, had as good a career as any Philadelphia 76er and is ranked at the top Sixers in all of history, along with names like Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, and Charles Barkley.

Here we sit, 20 years after Iverson and the Sixers’ loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the finals, now with a chance to have a much-anticipated rematch, all thanks to Joel Embiid.

Embiid is having a stellar season, reminiscent of Iverson in 2000-2001, the year Iverson won the MVP.

Certainly, Iverson and Embiid are totally different players due to not only their size and position but the nature of the league at the time they are playing. Yet, both averaged 30 points and are nearly impossible to stop.

Joel Embiid is this generation’s Iverson and is beginning to be mentioned in the same conversation as Sixers greats.

Photo: Charles Fox/The Philadelphia Inquirer

The difference right now between Joel Embiid and other Sixers greats is undoubtedly the success they have had. Iverson, Erving, Chamberlain all appeared in a Finals game with the Sixers and had sustained NBA success. Barkley never appeared in a Finals with the team, but

Iverson, Erving, Barkley, and Chamberlain did a lot more with a lot less around them than Joel Embiid has done thus far.

Before this season, Embiid never showed he could put his team on his back and lead them. He has done that so far, but to seriously be considered part of the Sixers greats, he needs to win and continue to win.

There is certainly a good chance that, one day, Embiid will earn the right to be mentioned with the Hall of Fame players of old, especially if he continues this current season.
Yes, Joel Embiid is similar to Iverson because he is a generational talent, but should he be mentioned in the same conversation as Iverson and other Sixers legends? Not yet.

Featured Image: Charles Fox/The Philadelphia Inquirer
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