The Philadelphia 76ers aren’t an All-Star level team, but they do have one player in this year’s NBA All-Star game on Feb. 17. Jrue Holiday is making his All-Star debut, as the Sixers are sending out new blood in more ways than one.
The Sixers have sent their share of All-Stars over the last 25 years, but they have usually been named Allen Iverson or Charles Barkley. In fact, Holiday is only the sixth Sixer other than Iverson or Barkley to become an All-Star since 1988.
After Julius Erving and Maurice Cheeks left Philadelphia, Barkley carried the Sixers on his back starting in 1988. From then until his trade to the Phoenix Suns in 1992, Hersey Hawkins was Philadelphia’s only other All-Star selection in 1991.
Once Barkley left, the Sixers’ only All-Star from 1992 to 1999 was Dana Barros in 1995. However, Allen Iverson then emerged and gave Philadelphia a presence on All-Star weekend in every season until 2005-06. Theo Ratliff joined Iverson in the 2001 All-Star game, while Iverson and Dikembe Mutombo played together in the 2002 game at Philadelphia.
After Iverson’s first stint for the Sixers was over, the team didn’t have another All-Star until he briefly returned in 2009-10. But at long last, Philadelphia found some new All-Stars when Andre Iguodala made the Eastern roster in 2012, followed by Holiday this season.
The Sixers haven’t been a winning team for most of the last 25 years, or had any legitimate superstars other than Barkley and Iverson in that time. This is reflected in the All-Star game selections, as no other Sixer besides Barkley and Iverson has been picked more than once. In fact, Iguodala got traded months after his selections so the Sixers could land Andrew Bynum, who still hasn’t played a game for them.
Holiday has a good chance to change that, as he made the Eastern Conference team in just his fourth season. If Bynum ever returns and gets a long term deal in the offseason, he could still become the consistent All-Star the Sixers need.
But whether Holiday, Bynum or someone else becomes the face of the Sixers in the next several years, the team does need a face -- and not just on NBA All-Star weekend.