Posted by: Jake Fischer
06/04/13 12:27 pm EST

phillyskylinehoopThe City of Brotherly Love’s own Philadelphia University played host to the third annual Mary Kline Classic, yesterday. The MKC, which was founded, and is still run, by Alex Kline of in honor of his later mother, Mary, features some of the top high school basketball prospects in the country while raising thousands of proceeds to National Brain Tumor Society and Brain Tumor Research at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Of the 40 players that competed this year, 20 hailed from within 50 miles of Philly.  But, the idea that Philadelphia is a Mecca for high school basketball is not a novel concept.  National media and legend has praised the level of amateur ball Philadunkia has had to offer for generations.

College basketball also has it’s own mystique intertwined within the city’s history.  The Palestra and Big 5 hoops are known commodities far outside of the tri-state area.  And, even though there technically is no Big 5 tournament, winning the annual Big 5 series is an honor each college program in the City strives to reach because in Philly, reason to trash talk is a welcome consolation for hardware.

So with all of this in mind, why can’t Philadelphia become an elite destination for pro basketball?  Why can’t Philadelphia, a city rich in basketball history at all levels, be considered a location that NBA players desire to hoop in?

Unfortunately, even if Sam Hinkie miraculously turns the Sixers into a competitive team in the next few years, they will most likely still be the “fourth team” in this city.  The Eagles will always be number one in most Philadelphia fans’ hearts.  The Phillies, the most recent world champions, are still trying to make fans cling to the blessed memories of 2008.  The Flyers have a fan base that bleeds orange and black and that team will always be attractive to people in Philadelphia because of their blue-collar spirit. The 76ers?  Right now, they don’t really have a niche.  They don’t have an identity.

The Sixers happen to play in one of the best basketball cities in the entire world.  However, the people of Philly won’t be impressed by whatever brand of professional basketball resides in the Wells Fargo Center until fans can identify with the team’s product.  Fans need to be able to say, “The Sixers are my team because ________.”

This off-season is all about fixing that problem for managing owner Joshua Harris, new General Manger Sam Hinkie and whoever else is still left/brought in before the opening tip off this fall.  But, regardless of who this organization brings in on the court and in the front office, they need to focus on adding highly skilled players that will help this team win and build an identity for this franchise.  A winning NBA team with a high profile identity and a loyal fan base will attract great NBA players.

Until then, no matter what moves Harris and Hinkie make, Philadunkia nation will struggle to become a pro basketball town again.

No pressure fellas.


Jake Fischer is a Scribe for Philadunkia. Follow him on Twitter @JakeLFischer.  

You can follow us on Twitter @philadunkia.



  1. Steve Toll
    4. June 2013 at 13:42

  2. Philadunkia
    4. June 2013 at 13:48


    Arguably the best comment you have ever made!

    — C. Smith

  3. Steve Toll
    4. June 2013 at 14:37

    C. Smith,

    Haaa thanks, trying to step my comment game up

  4. Brian
    4. June 2013 at 15:14

    Well written article and I agree with just about everything exept the amount of HS talent in and around the philadelphia area. These were not the top 40 kids in the country competing this weekend and the tournament isnt the Peach Jam or the McDonals All American. Theres a big difference there. If you look at the the top 100 kids by any recruiting service the last 10 years Philly averages maybe 1-3 kids on that list any given year-not what i would call a honey hole. The ironic thing is that those kids always seem to leave the area when their recruting picks up. Truth be told Philly hasnt been a destination city for years at any level really and sadly never will be again.

  5. Aamir
    4. June 2013 at 22:10

    C. Smith,

    Not just arguably, most definitely the best comment Steve T[r]oll has ever made. (sorry, I just had to do it to ya).
    But in all seriousness, I think the article makes some great points, especially about identity. It is way easier to succeed with an identity, just like the Sixers were supposed to have with Bynosaur. Pass-first PG (Jrue), solid wings (ET, Thad) and shooters (Swaggy, DWright and JRich), and an inside-out game as well. But they turned into a motley group of streaky shooters, rejects, soft big men, and one workhorse, and one all-star trying to carry the load, while a mushroom, sorry, “player”, sat on the bench experimenting with hair-dos instead of post-moves. All in all, if the Sixers can have an identity it is a whole lot easier to win, just like in the 2012 postseason, they were defense first, balanced scoring, and transition, up-tempo basketball. Now… well I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what Josh Harris and Sam Hinkie can come up with…

  6. Rob h
    4. June 2013 at 23:37

    Apparently the 76 are going to make another run at josh smith. I don’t know what to think… Hopefully we can get him and a defensive oriented 5 and be a playoff team. Better than praying for wiggens in my opinion.

  7. ms. haygood
    5. June 2013 at 08:34

    When the 6ers made their run with Iverson, Philly was a Sixers town. You need a superstar and real chance at an NBA championship for the city to get behind this team again, but it can be done.

  8. Steve Toll
    5. June 2013 at 11:12


    Can’t have Smith and a NEW Center next year.

    Ms Haygood,

    I wholeheartedly disagree

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