WATCH: Delaware 87ers Player Throws Down Amazing 360º Dunk

The Sixers may not be doing so well this season, but their minor league is … well, okay, their minor league team has the worst record in the D-League, and three fewer wins than the Sixers.

But that doesn’t mean everything is bad. Take Rodney Williams. On Friday night against the Maine Red Claws, the first-year 87ers small forward got ahead of the pack and threw down this incredible 360 dunk that looked more appropriate for NBA Jam than a real game.

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Everyone Says Philly Is a Great Basketball Town

nova-sad

Philadelphia’s a great basketball town.

You’ll hear this a lot, and it makes sense. The city has a rich basketball tradition. After being invented in Springfield, basketball spread to other east-coast cities, and eventually the Philadelphia SPHAs were one of the top teams. The Sixers may be down now, but they’ve had some of the biggest superstars in NBA history: Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley. More recently, the Sixers had Allen Iverson, the most exciting, interesting player of the post-Michael Jordan NBA.

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How Flyers Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds Almost Beat the Harlem Globetrotters

From left: Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Steve Mason, Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek. Photo | HughE Dillon

From left: Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Steve Mason, Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek. Photo | HughE Dillon

The Harlem Globetrotters are from another era, a throwback to the original days of basketball, of barnstorming teams like the Original Celtics and the New York Rens. The show even feels old: The Globetrotters’ jokes are almost vaudevillian — some of them could have been ended with a giant hook pulling them off the court. It’s carnival entertainment — the circus combined with professional wrestling.

C’mon, kids! Abe Saperstein’s globe trottin’ basketball team has come into town! Only now Abe Saperstein is Herschend Family Entertainment, who acquired Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. from Shamrock Capital Advisors in October. Herschend also owns the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, Ride the Ducks, and Dollywood.

The Globetrotters make an annual pilgrimage to Philadelphia in early March every year, hitting the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia twice yesterday. (Another Globetrotter squad was in Estero, Florida, at an arena that usually hosts the Florida Everblades — get it?) To get attention in a crowded entertainment market, the Globetrotters pull a lot of stunts: The team drafted Usain Bolt, a player ran into Dave Matthews, and two Globetrotters competed on the Amazing Race. In 2009, the team actually played on the roof of the Spectrum; the next year two players did tricks on the top of the Comcast Center.

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There Is Hope: The Sixers Could Actually Look Scary-Good Next Year

Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams

I have always loved the Philadelphia 76ers.

I would go to the old Spectrum in 1973 and buy a cheap seat and eventually end up courtside. If you think the 76ers are bad now, you have a short memory. The 1972-73 team was historically bad — winning just 9 out of 82 games. They were so bad that when I sat courtside I had to suppress the urge to yell “next!” like I did to play in pick-up games.

Things quickly got better. By the mid ’70s, the 76ers were a powerhouse in the NBA. I believe the same thing can happen with the 2013-2014 version of the 76ers.

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MONDAY KICKSTARTER: Jason Collins Debuts for the Brooklyn Nets, Becoming First Out Man to Play in the NBA

I trolled the web for LGBT headlines all weekend so you wouldn’t have to. Here’s what I dug up:

HISTORY

jason collins netsIt’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Out basketball star Jason Collins signs a deal with the Brooklyn Nets, becoming the first openly gay player in the NBA. He played his first game for them last night in L.A. See a video of that above.

PROGRESS REPORT

Judge rules that gay marriage must start immediately in Chicago. So can we get the same ruling in Philadelphia?

PROGRESS IN THE WORKS

Illinois lawmaker introduces bill that would ban gay conversion therapy on LGBT youth.

More headlines after the jump

The Rookie: Michael Carter-Williams

sixers rookie michael carter williams

Photograph by Steve Boyle

My knuckles are white as I grip the steering wheel, trying in vain to keep up with Michael Carter-Williams, who’s burning serious rubber up ahead. The Sixers’ rookie point guard agreed to meet me here at Dave & Buster’s on the waterfront for a head-to-head competition. As we walked through the arcade, he chose our first event—a racing game, “for Paul Walker,” he said, a nod to the Fast and the Furious actor who just died. Carter-Williams is a pop-culture hound; if he has Sunday night off, he’d rather watch Homeland than SportsCenter. He tells me he’s not a gamer, though. I think I may actually have a shot at beating MCW, as he’s known—something not many people can do these days.

Carter-Williams laughs as his hot rod leaves mine in the dust. He speeds through turns with ease, weaving in and out of traffic with abandon. My foot’s on the floor, and I still can’t keep pace with him. He takes the checkered flag in second place. I finish last.
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St. Joe’s Basketball in Limbo: The Hawk Will Never Die?

Nov 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Saint Joseph's Hawks mascot. The Hawk, during the second half against the LSU Tigers at ESPN Wide World of Sports. LSU Tigers defeated the Saint Joseph's Hawks 82-65. Photo | Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

You see them at St. Joe’s hoops games: old-guard fans who go by names like Owen, Ernie and Dr. Ed. Rich the CPA. The Twins. Hilf and T. They remember John Smith’s last-second game-winning layup against top-ranked DePaul in the 1981 NCAA tournament. The great ’85-’86 campaign, when Saint Joseph’s went 26-6. And, of course, Jameer Nelson and the magical 2003-’04 run to an undefeated regular season, a number-one ranking, and a trip to the Elite Eight.
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