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Then and Now: The 76ers Before the Streak

Tom Gralish/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

Now firmly entrenched in the worst losing streak in major professional sports history, the Philadelphia 76ers may finally earn their first win in over 28 regular season games Tuesday night. Facing a 2-14 Los Angeles Lakers team whose sole purpose seems to be to allow a retiring Kobe Bryant to fire every last bullet in his chamber, and only connect 30.5% of the time, the Sixers are listed as just 1.5-point underdogs. That elusive win is so close that I would be surprised if Sixers coach Brett Brown has been able to sleep at all while faced with such nervous anticipation. With such a momentous achievement seemingly right there on the horizon for us to behold, let’s take a look back at the way things were when this run of ineptitude all began.

In consulting the elders, I have determined the last Philadelphia win came back on March 25th of the year 2015 against an ancient mining civilization. It was truly a different world back then,, before the streak. The Sixers starting point guard on that day went by the name of Ish Smith. Ish, of course, in ancient Hebrew means man. Perhaps he was the first man. This early pioneer has since traveled to the faraway land of New Orleans. Completing the starting backcourt in the win was the legendary warrior Jason Richardson. Do not look for Richardson among current NBA rosters, for you will not find this venerable man, so long ago was this last Sixers victory.

I have also sifted through the ancient tomes and scrolls to uncover what life was like for current members of this Sixers civilization in such faraway times. Let’s take a look back at how present-day Sixers lived in those simpler days.

  • Jahlil Okafor had no character concerns with his high school scouting report stating he “seems very grounded and well spoken off the court.” The advanced scouts at TMZ have since reached a different conclusion.
  • Brett Brown had only coached one Sixers team to a 26-game losing streak, a group I already concluded would defeat this 2015 team. Something tells me these two runs will not be listed under “Key Achievements” on future versions of his resume.
  • T.J. McConnell had yet to make a NBA free throw. (Wait, after 497 minutes of playing time at the professional level, that still has not happened). How has that not happened?
  • JaKarr Sampson has undergone perhaps the most striking physical transformation on the team. Some say he simply chose to shave his head while others maintain one of his trademark twists fell out with each loss the team suffered.
  • Joel Embiid was rehabbing from foot surgery and looking forward to the day when he could make his professional debut. I guess some things never change. At least he could enjoy his Shirley Temples in peace back then.

All things must come to an end eventually. It seems fitting that the man to deliver the Sixers from this eternal hellscape of misery would be the prodigal son who turned his back on the city. You can see it now. Sixers up two, Kobe rises up from 25 feet with two defenders on him as D’Angelo Russell stands open in the corner. The shot careens off the back iron before falling harmlessly to the floor, tears already welling in Brett Brown’s eyes. Pandemonium in the city. Or maybe the Sixers lose, and we’re talking about this all over again Wednesday in New York.

After all, they have lost 28 straight.

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