12/11/10 3:38 pm EST
This holiday season Sixers fans have several things to be excited about. Despite a heartbreaking loss to the boys from Bean Town Thursday night this Sixer squad seems to be steadily improving while maybe settling finally on a successful starting lineup.
A large part of the team’s recent success can be credited to the resurgence of Elton Brand, who is beginning to resemble the Elton of old. However, wins aren’t the only thing Elton and the other Sixer stars are focusing on heading into the holidays. Elton helped to add some holiday cheer off the court as well by attending a Center City book signing to help raise money and awareness for literacy programs through Sixer charities this holiday season. Elton was joined by Jennifer Grocki, author of the first-ever Philadelphia 76ers children’s book, From A to Zone D: The Alphabet, Basketball Style in an attempt to supplement those recent wins with some Christmas spirit.
Fans who attended were awarded the opportunity to snap a picture with Elton, who was outwardly ecstatic to be able to give back to the community in such a positive way. “This is what it’s all about,” Elton stated. “These fans make us who we are, and having the opportunity to connect with them is special,” he continued, while signing the inside flap of the book for an eager young fan.
Although the event was geared towards off the court giving, Elton lent us a little insight regarding the team’s recent surge, which he contributed largely to the gelling of the team, a growing dedication to defense, and the development of second year stud Jrue Holiday. “We have a young team and sometimes it takes a while for these things to come together,” Elton elaborated, failing to mention his improved play as a catalyst for a team that has been waiting for such production since they signed him from the Clippers. “Being healthy is key for me, and this is the first season I’ve felt close to a hundred percent in a few.” The fans that filtered in and out of Barnes and Noble clearly appreciated Elton’s resurgence, tossing compliments his way, with many claiming they hope to see him back in 20-10 form by the end of the season.
As Brand and I continued to discuss the Sixers recent solid play he commented, “When we’re playing well we feel like we can hang with anybody.” After Thursday night’s gut wrenching, one-point loss to Eastern Conference power Boston, that statement appears to hold even more truth now.
Finally, with so much on-court action it often becomes easy to get lost in the long NBA season, and it was nice to see the Sixers embracing aspects of the community off of the court. While the book will make a great stocking stuffer, most Sixers fans should find happiness this Holiday season in the ever-improving play of their young Sixers squad.