Start with this: I abhorred Sam Hinkie’s “Process.” I found it unprofessional, illogical and a robbery of the fans.
That said, Hinkie’s weird departure last week makes me feel no better about the Sixers future. Because while Sam was the architect of disaster, the ownership group that hired him and initiated that nightmare continues its chokehold on Philadelphia basketball.
New Jersey Devils owner Joshua Harris, who also dabbles as managing partner of the Sixers, tried to persuade the masses Sunday that he never lost faith in Hinkie and was “sad” and “disappointed” to receive that 13-page resignation manifesto last week. All he really wanted, Harris said, was Hinkie to accept sharing power with “another high-level executive on a level plane with him.”
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We’ll get to the name of that executive in a moment. But Harris is either lying with that statement or he’s the most naïve billionaire you’ll ever see. Expecting a GM to accept an equal job-sharing plan is not much different from telling you wife you want her to share your affections with “another high-level woman on a level plane.” Let me know how that goes.
What really happened is that Harris got cold feet last year when his NBA partners complained that the Sixers were an embarrassment to their collective business. Commissioner Adam Silver then orchestrated the hiring of Jerry Colangelo to oversee the 76ers and mollify other owners.
Again, I hate the Tankathon. And I respect Jerry Colangelo’s Hall of Fame executive career. But Harris gets no points for letting Hinkie pillage for three seasons and then, once the Commish waggled his finger, reversing course under peer pressure. Hiring Colangelo Sr. may have been the right move, but what was Harris’s motivation?
And Sixers ownership gets no points now for conducting a search for a new team president that apparently took 30 minutes and extended to everyone whose name rhymes with “Schmolangelo.” If you believe the party line, Jerry had nothing to do with the hiring of his son, even covering his ears and dashing from the room when Bryan’s name came up. Why, sure he did.
Bryan Colangelo’s got two NBA Executive of the Year awards on his resume. But the owner talked a lot about “optics” at Sunday’s news conference. No optics are worse than blatant nepotism. Jerry Colangelo now kick his feet up in the Arizona desert, knowing that the Sixers have become a family business.
The Hinkie devotees are squealing, and I can’t blame them. Their hero is suddenly so out of favor that, at last Friday’s game at the Center, three season ticket holders wearing Hinkie tribute jerseys were told to take them off.
If the Sixers continue to lose, the 76ers’ official spin will be that “The Process” remains to blame. If things turn around, all success will be tried to whatever draft picks and trades Bryan Colangelo has up his sleeve.
Truth is, as long as Joshua Harris and friends own the Sixers, all Philadelphia fans continue to lose.