May 18, 2016
“We’re No.1, We’re No.1, We’re No.1!!
That popular sports chant has taken on a new meaning in Philadelphia, the sports city that always weeps.
In case you missed it, the Philadelphia 76ers participation in the NBA Draft Lottery (the annual highlight of that franchise’s season for the majority of the last 30 years) ended with them winning the No.1 overall selection in the NBA Draft. Tanking has its benefits: the Sixers had the best odds of any team entering the yearly dancing of the ping pong balls.
Like the Phillies, however, the Sixers have the top pick in a year where there isn’t an obvious, can’t miss, No.1 overall selection. Just as there’s no Bryce Harper, Alex Rodriguez, or Ken Griffey Jr. when the Phils pick first three weeks from tomorrow, there is no LeBron James, Tim Duncan, or Allen Iverson when the Sixers do their own selecting later in the same month.
Still, the Sixers are downright celebrating their prize for being unwatchable this season.
Even crazier: after the Eagles traded up for the No. 2 pick in last month’s NFL Draft, Philadelphia became the first pro sports city ever to have a top two pick in the NFL, MLB and NBA draft in the same year, according to the folks at the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Phillies provided that fun note (fun if you like your team being the worst in its league!) and a few others:
• This the first time in Philadelphia history that two teams in the four major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) own the No. 1 overall pick in the same year.
• This is the first time a city had two No.1 overall picks in the same season since Houston held that distinction way back in 2014: the Astros selected high school pitcher Brady Aiken (who did not sign) and the Houston Texans took on-his-way-to-being-a-bust Jadeveon Clowney from the proverbial football power University of South Carolina.
• The last MLB and NBA pair of No.1 overall picks occurred in Washington D.C. in 2010. The Nationals selected Bryce Harper; the Wizards took John Wall. Well, at least those two players are pretty good.