The Philadelphia 76ers are currently at their lowest point in years. Yet on March 1, the Sixers got to remember better days -- and so did the man they honored at halftime. Both the Sixers and Allen Iverson fell hard from their glory days together, but they remembered them well by retiring Iverson's jersey -- albeit in the middle of another embarrassing 122-103 loss to the Washington Wizards.
After a typical first half where the Sixers gave up 74 points to the Wizards, the focus turned to the only thing that most fans came to see. As it was at his peak and even during his decline, Iverson was the main attraction in Philadelphia, as his No. 3 jersey became the eighth in Sixers history to be retired.
Iverson was honored for 12 seasons of work in Philadelphia, although the 2000-01 season defined him as he won the MVP and took the Sixers to the NBA Finals. However, both Philadelphia and its superstar faded back until Iverson finally got traded to the Denver Nuggets in 2007, only to return to the Sixers in 2010 at the very end of his career.
Since playing his last game, an ugly divorce and financial problems have plagued Iverson. But for this one night, he was the biggest star in Philadelphia again and the Sixers actually drew a sellout crowd again. Nevertheless, Iverson only took the court during the halftime ceremony, yet still did better than most current Philadelphia players.
Those Sixers yielded 40 points to the Wizards' Trevor Ariza and gave up a double-double to John Wall. They barely stood up as Washington won its sixth straight game and looked more and more like a surprise playoff team. Meanwhile, Philadelphia has surprised no one as it has sunk to the bottom of the NBA, although its current 13-game losing streak has been a particularly ugly twist.
The Sixers have dismantled themselves with the hopes that in a few years, they will march back into respectability. However, marching back towards the glory days of Iverson is a tougher task -- one that Philadelphia hasn't been able to do in over a decade.
Yet the last time the Sixers were this bad, they won the right to draft Iverson in the first place almost 20 years ago -- which may be the closest thing they have to a silver lining right now.