Mike Missanelli: Iguodala off-base on Sixers fans

feels unappreciated by the fans in Philadelphia. DAVID SANTIAGO / El Nuevo Herald
feels unappreciated by the fans in Philadelphia. DAVID SANTIAGO / El Nuevo Herald (The Sixers' Andre Iguodala)
Posted: April 08, 2012

Andre Iguodala has already made a lot of money playing basketball in the NBA. By my calculations, he has bagged about $30 million, not counting the $13.5 million the Sixers are paying him this year and the $14.3 million and $17.5 million he will get in the next two years of his contract.

But the one payment he has never received, apparently, is a reality check.

In Sports Illustrated last week came a lament from Iguodala hinting at his lack of appreciation from Philadelphia fans.

"In Philly, it's not about who you are, it's about what you do for us," Iguodala was quoted as saying. "You could be the worst person in the world, but if you score a lot of points, or win a championship, you can murder somebody."

Not that there isn't some truth in that statement. I think it goes without saying that all fans, in Philadelphia or not, are interested more in winning than in the pristine character of their athletes.

It's all about winning. It's why John Calipari keeps getting high-profile college jobs even though probation follows him like a hungry pigeon. It's why we don't care that Mark McGwire may have been using when he was setting that home run record, despite stories at the time, and why we worship great hits in pro football, even when they may be connected to a bounty that rewards players for tearing up someone's ACL.

The three worst guys I can think of that ever wore a Philadelphia team uniform are Lenny Dykstra, Allen Iverson, and Michael Vick.

Dykstra was a cesspool of human indignity, but he was the rapscallion leadoff hitter who scored a million runs for our team that went to the World Series.

Iverson once urinated in a trash can at an Atlantic City casino parking lot right in front of people coming into the place. Why? Because he was Allen Iverson. But A.I. might be one of the three most popular athletes to ever play in this town.

And Vick  ran a dogfighting operation in Virginia where dogs were tortured and killed for losing.   But if the Eagles quarterback gets his team to a Super Bowl this year, fewer and fewer people will even remember that little faux pas.

But see, Iguodala isn't really making that point. What the Sixers forward is really saying in Sports Illustrated is that he has been totally underappreciated as an athlete in this town, and that's where the man needs his reality check.

Andre Iguodala is an $8 million player in this league who just happens to be making about $14 mil. And if he can't see why that influences people's judgment, then he's not very perceptive.

When an athlete signs a big contract like that, he must know that big expectations come with it. Iguodala is paid like a star with status as the best player on his team.

For the people who say "Well, it's the Sixers' fault for giving him that kind of contract," consider this: Before Iguodala signed the six-year, $80 million deal given to him in 2008, he was indignant about lower numbers the Sixers' front office was dangling and he threatened free agency. In other words, it was Iguodala who determined his worth as a premier player. Since he hasn't delivered on that, have the fans underappreciated him?

There are a lot of things that bother me about Andre Iguodala, but nothing bothers me more than a player who refuses to work on the weak parts of his game.

Iguodala has been in the league now for eight years. And in that time, he hasn't worked on being a better shooter or developing a better handle in order to get to the basket easier. His shot is a thud, a ball that doesn't come out of his hands very softly and therefore doesn't have a chance to go in unless it's a direct hit. He's not a very efficient three-point shooter, and yet he insists on shooting at least three three-point shots per game.

Iguodala has wonderful athletic ability, but if he could handle the ball better, he might be able to get past the second line of defenders, like the great players do, in order to get to the basket and maybe get a foul or two. Then again, he can't shoot free throws because of the "thud shot."

All right, this one is pretty picky - but the big, black-rimmed goggle glasses bother me too. Crash Davis told Nuke LaLoosh in Bull Durham that he could wear moldy shower shoes in the clubhouse only after he became a star. I'll be honest, Andre - the glasses make you look foolish.

And so do the comments in Sports Illustrated.

Obtuse thoughts

1. Is there anybody out there who would be that devastated if the Sixers miss the NBA playoffs?

Here are the likely scenarios:

One, the Sixers finish with the seventh playoff seed and play the Miami Heat in the first round. That's smoked city.

Two, the Sixers win the Atlantic Division, finish with the fourth seed, and play the Indiana Pacers. Oh, the indignity of that first-round playoff loss.

Three, the Sixers get into the lottery, get really lucky, and get the first pick in the draft. They take Anthony Davis of Kentucky, who might have the impact in this league of David Robinson and Tim Duncan rolled into one. Just saying.

2. Hello, Ruben Amaro? I know you haven't talked to John Boggs, the agent for Cole Hamels, since the first week of March. But Matt Cain just signed for $22.4 million a season. If you don't soon offer Hamels a five-year contract for at least $24 million a season, he's going to get $26 mil a year from the Dodgers one day after the season. Just thought you'd like to know.

3. I love Flyers fans. Bless their little hearts, they are the only fans who can watch their team get smoked by the New York Rangers - the Flyers' sixth straight loss to the Rangers this season - and think it's no big deal.

Mike Missanelli hosts a show from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays on 97.5-FM The Fanatic. Contact him at mikemiss@975thefanatic.com.

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