Not many athletes in the city of Philadelphia were loved and respected more than Reggie Evans. The city of brotherly love envies athletes who are hard-nosed and relentlessly determined to give everything on every possession. Once the fans notice the intensity, they’ve been won over.
When Evans first started with the 76ers, many were unsure of the guy. Unfortunately for Evans, fans only knew him as the guy
from the Nuggets who grabbed Chris Kaman’s Nuggets. Eventually, they’d respect him as a man who rebounded the basketball like a monster.
Since the days of Allen Iverson and his annual MVP chants, nobody in a Sixers uniform has been able to duplicate any form of vocal admiration, until Reggie.
After a 41-and-41 season in the 2008-2009 season, Philadelphia managed to sneak into the playoffs and face off against the Orlando Magic. There were two vivid memories in the series for 76ers fans against Dwight Howard and the Magic. First, was the last-second shot, drained by Andre Iguodala, over the outstretched fingertips of Hedo Turkoglu, and the second belonged to Reggie Evans.
He wasn’t the most talented offensive player on the Sixers. His range is limited to about 10 feet away from the basket, and fortunately for the teams he’s played for, he understands that. But, this isn’t a knock on his game, nor is it a downfall. He isn’t expected to score; it’s not what he’s paid to do. Evans makes his money to rebound the basketball and emotionally uplift his teammates with hustle.
There Evans stood, studying his shot from the free-throw line, as his teammates and opponents stood waiting. As he bent his knees and readied for his first attempt from the stripe, the Wells Fargo Center (then known as the Wachovia Center) started reverberating Reggie’s name, similar to the final minutes of Rudy. “REGGIE! REGGIE! REGGIE! REGGIE,” shouted the crowd in game one of the series.
Evans smiled. His facial expression was symbolic. At that point, he found his place in the league. He only played nine minutes, scored one point and grabbed one rebound, but the Philadelphia fans looked past that. They remembered (as they always do) his pedel-to-the-metal style of play that he showcased throughout the season. The Sixers went on to win that game 100-98 and Evans’ legend grew.
Reggie Evans now plays on the Toronto Raptors, and he will be returning to the Wells Fargo Center, where he was once a hero. Even though he’s wearing a different uniform, the fans will continue to remember. Maybe you’ll even hear a “Reggie” chant or two.
The game will tip off a few minutes after 7:00 and the 76ers will look to find their touch, which has been lost as of late. The Raptors have struggled this season, so maybe the Sixers can get a much needed easy win, but don’t expect number 30 to make anything simple for Philly.