Philadelphia 76ers: Stephen A. Smith gets what makes Philly great

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Stephen A. Smith is a native of The Bronx.

He played his college basketball at Winston-Salem – yes, it’s true, check his Wikipedia – began his journalism career at the Winston-Salem Journal, and has gone on to fill a variety of different roles at ESPN since his initial hiring in 2005 both in Bristol, Connecticut and in the network’s new hub in the Big Apple.

But no matter how far Stephen A. expands out his media portfolio, with a late-night show surely waiting just over the horizon, the City of Brotherly Love will forever hold a special place in the heart, as it’s where he was a contributor at the Philadelphia Inquirer for the better part of 17 years.

So, when Stephen A. Smith gives a Philadelphia 76ers player like Ben Simmons, or really any sports star for that matter, advice that Philadelphia is one of the best places on earth to be a professional athlete, he knows a thing or two about what he’s talking about.

Watch Stephen A. Smith drop some knowledge on the Philadelphia 76ers point guard.

Philadelphia gets a bad rep on the national stage.

Just in the last week, Michael Wilbon compared Ben Simmons playing in Philadelphia to a jail sentence, CM Punk called it the Hostile City, and Eli Manning recreated the time an eight-year-old flipped him the birds at the Linc.

Did you know know that Eagles fans once booed Santa Claus? They are crazy.

If you think any of this is new – save Punk’s head-scratching comment – it’s really not; Philly fans have heard it all before.

But do you want to know why Philly fans have such a national relationship? Because they care.

Believe you me, I can tell you firsthand how contentious a comments section can get and how completely nonchalantly a random person will DM you that your opinion is wrong if they disagree with it (trust me). Philly is one of the few major markets with a thriving sports talk radio scene and generally has one of the more opinionated fan bases in the league, even if the opinions generated aren’t always logical.

Can this generate confusion or even resentment from the players who call the city, or its surrounding area, home? Sure, Danny Green spoke out on that earlier this very year, but it can also inspire a fierce loyalty between a player and their fans that will far outlive their playing career.

Need proof? Look no further than former players like Connor Barwin or Brent Celek, who will live in the area long after their playing days are done. Look at players like Elton Brand, Darren Sproles, or Brian Dawkins, who have gone on to work for their respective teams, as well as former stars like Allen Iverson, who return to the area whenever possible.

If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

But hey, don’t just take my word for it; let’s see what Stephen A. Smith has to say on the subject.

My goodness, I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

Next. Get to know Shaquille Harrison. dark

Does Ben Simmons have every right to want to leave the Philadelphia 76ers? Sure. Is he inclined to believe a team should be explicitly built around his talents? Sure, that’s entirely within his right, but don’t blame Philadelphia for those feelings. For all of the hate fans have received over the past few weeks for their part in “driving Ben Simmons out of town,” I leave you with this video. Much like with Markelle Fultz before him, Philly fans couldn’t have been more supportive of Simmons’ development; he just wasn’t able to rise to the occasion.