(not the Kyle Korver of his day : Billy Cunningham)
Certain know-it-alls just do not have the ability to field a question and reply “I am not really certain” and just leave it at that instead of exposing their ignorance. This certainly applies to Bill Simmons as evidenced by his speculation that lack of support for the Philadelphia 76ers may have a racial component involved when The Philadelphia Daily News posed a question to him during his book signing tour date in Philly. From the Philadelphia Daily News Editorial page:
A COUPLE OF weeks ago, I sat and watched Bill Simmons, ESPN’s lead columnist and the author of the current New York Times No. 1 best-seller, “The Book of Basketball,” at a sold-out appearance at the Borders just south of City Hall.
For more than four hours, Simmons signed books, shook hands and traded barbs with hundreds of fans there to buy a book whose target audience, narrowly defined, is hard core basketball fans. Sports fans at a book signing about basketball: This was, presumably, a cross section of Philadelphians who might be interested in basketball.
Of the 500 fans who showed up, there weren’t 10 guys wearing Sixers gear. Afterward, I asked Simmons about it: Is Philly just not a good pro hoops town?
Simmons, love him or hate him, knows basketball. He just consumed roughly every pro basketball game ever filmed, and, as a lifelong Celtics fan, should have a decent idea of the Sixers’ status in the Celts’ once-upon-a-time main rival’s hometown.
Pausing to thinking for a second, he tilted his head back, crossed his arms and half-whispered his answer: “I don’t think so,” and then paused. “No.”
“It could be a race thing to some degree. They’ve never had an awesome white player, and they’ve always had the most iconic African-American player. They had Doc, then they had Barkley, who was obviously very outspoken, and then Iverson.”
Would we have showed up more if the team were whiter? Maybe, but I’m not so sure.
I wont even bother wasting my time defending Philly sports fans against such blatantly ignorant and insulting speculation but am puzzled and appalled that Daily News sports editor E James Beale stated that Simmons may be correct. That, and when it comes to basketball and 76ers history/knowledge, neither Beale or Simmons seems to recall somebody named Billy Cunningham. Gee guys, maybe, just maybe if Shawn Bradley and Matt Geiger didnt pan out….