Dear Kawhi,

 

One’s heart is always home.

Wherever life may take us, our compass tends to point back to where we started. Going to LA — to play for the Lakers or Clippers* — would be that homecoming for you. It may even help fill a certain void you’ve been walking with for a long time.

And, if a trade deal can be worked out, you’ll have the opportunity to team up with the potential GOAT and play for the most-successful franchise in professional basketball.

But what kind of opportunity is that, really?** Consider this:

As a Laker, no matter what you do on a night-by-night basis — no matter what contributions you make or accomplishments you achieve — you’ll be playing a supporting role in The LeBron Story. (You’re not even playing with LeBron yet, and the media is already treating you like his second banana. ESPN has been writing about you and Paul George mostly in relation to how your individual off-season moves will affect “The King.” At least Wade and Bosh had a choice.)

lebron james kawhi leonard

Now, think long-term:

Again, the Lakers are the most-successful franchise in professional basketball. And this move would give you the chance to add your name to that hierarchy of greatness. Wilt, West, Elgin, Kareem, Magic, Worthy, Shaq, Kobe … and eventually, LeBron and you.

But — just for fun — let’s look at a different version of your future:

You join the third-most-successful franchise in professional basketball: The Philadelphia 76ers.

You come to an amazing city with an enormous chip on its shoulder. A city that’s had it with playing second banana to Boston and LA. A city that wants it more than anybody. A city that’s proudly retired the numbers of some of the greatest who ever played the game. Wilt (!), Doc, Mo, Jones, Barkley … and Allen Motherf****** Iverson.

iverson barkley doctor j

You’ve seen our young guys ball. And, they can ball. But they need a leader. And, goddamn, could you be that leader.

Philadelphia is one of the great basketball cities in America. There’s nothing like playing here, for these fans. We’ll grill you, to be sure … but we’ll also have your back, no matter what. Allen once said that Philadelphia has “the best fans in the world, hands down” — and you can believe that.

 

 

Can you picture it? Taking the floor at the Wells for the first time, hearing the roar of the Philadelphia crowd? Being the centerlight — surrounded by JoJo, Ben, Dario, Markelle, et al. — of a cresting team that makes “the leap” and dominates the East? Helping bring hard-earned greatness back to a franchise — and a city — that values hard-earned greatness more than any other in the world?

Philadelphia wouldn’t be home, no. But it could be your second home. And there’s tremendous value in that.

You’ll feel it in your heart, the same way Allen does. And, it could be the place where you create a new future by your own design … where you write your own story … one whose final chapter opens with YOUR number being hoisted up to the rafters, while 6M+ fans honor you — on their feet — for what you helped bring to the city we love so much.

LA was given to you. Philadelphia is yours to take.

Will you take it?

 

Yours,
The Sixers Fans @ IMA

 

* You can’t play for the Clippers. You just can’t. The starting lineup would be you, Gortat, Gallinari, Flotsam and Jetsam.
** Consider this, also: You’ve been underestimated for too long. You were “California Mr. Basketball” in your senior high school year, yet somehow ranked only 48th in the nation. So instead of UNC, Duke, Kansas, etc., you went to UCSD. There, you racked up an eye-popping pile of awards and accolades, pulled the Aztecs into the Tournament twice, cracking the Sweet 16 the second time around. Yet, on NBA Draft night, you fell to pick #15 — behind names that didn’t even make sense then. (Derrick Williams? Jimmer Fredette? Jan Vesely?!) It’s time to play somewhere you’ll be appreciated, for real.