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— Keith Pompey (offthedribble@inquirer.com)

Some things are bigger than basketball

Man, do I miss basketball.

Things were about to get interesting for the Sixers.

If not for the coronavirus pandemic, they would be preparing to host the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday night in the 78th game of an 82-game regular season. Philadelphia would then have been abuzz in two weeks as the Sixers made their third consecutive postseason appearance.

Instead of watching actual NBA games, fans are settling for watching players partake in an NBA 2K tournament. ESPN and the league are also working on televising games of H-O-R-S-E.

Self disclosure: Watching people play video games and partake in a game of H-O-R-S-E on television does not qualify as entertainment to me.

Yet, as much as real NBA basketball is missed, sports are far from important at this time.

COVID-19 puts things in perspective.

It was actually a blessing in a weird way that Rudy Gobert tested positive on March 11 before his Utah Jazz took on the Oklahoma City Thunder. It led to the NBA suspending the season and possibly saving thousands of lives.

With that being said, I wouldn’t be opposed to the league canceling the season. We need to make sure it’s 100% safe before we resume sports with or without fans in the stands.

That’s what I’m focused on. Social distancing denied me the opportunity to help my grandfather, James Hill, celebrate his 96th birthday in person on Sunday. Considering his age, missing that was bigger than missing games. But it was the right thing to do.

Taking this break from athletics is also the right thing.

Starting Five

Allen Iverson's 55 points in 2003 against the New Orleans Hornets was one of the greatest Sixers playoff games ever.
YONG KIM / Staff
Allen Iverson's 55 points in 2003 against the New Orleans Hornets was one of the greatest Sixers playoff games ever.

Stephen Curry’s Pop Quizzes

Stephen Curry gave us a break from this coronavirus reality.

In Friday’s NBA Instagram Live takeover, the Golden State Warriors’ perennial All-Star guard tested the basketball knowledge of friends and NBA players through pop quizzes. He quizzed brother Seth Curry (Dallas Mavericks), Damion Lee (Warriors), JaVale McGee (Los Angeles Lakers), Kent Bazemore (Sacramento Kings), Mo Bamba (Orlando Magic), and Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs) individually by asking them four questions, which became increasingly harder.

In addition to asking questions, Curry asked them how they are spending their time while dealing with the suspended NBA season.

This was a great break from reality.

Stephen Curry has some fun on Instagram with friends, family and NBA players.
Jeff Chiu / AP
Stephen Curry has some fun on Instagram with friends, family and NBA players.

Passing the Rock

Question: Who’s your favorite 76ers first-round draft pick who never panned out? — @Just5t_paul on Twitter

Answer: What’s good, stranger. Long time, no communicate. Hope you and the family are well. Great question. Please tell your scrub of a brother I said hello.

I have to go with Jerry Stackhouse. The Sixers drafted him with the third overall pick in the 1995 draft. He averaged 19.2 points and garnered All-Rookie honors in his first season. The Sixers selected Allen Iverson with the first overall pick in the following draft. Stackhouse (20.7 points) and Iverson (23.5) combined to average more than 44.2 points during the 1996-97 season.

However, the Sixers traded him along with Eric Montross to the Detroit Pistons for Theo Ratliff, Aaron Mckie and a draft pick on Dec. 18, 1997.

“It wasn’t working out on the court,” then Sixers coach Larry Brown said of teaming Iverson with Stackhouse.

Iverson went on to become one of the greatest players in Sixers history. The Hall of Famer was the 2001 MVP, a four-time scoring champion and an 11-time All-Star.

Stackhouse had a solid career, averaging 16.9 points over his 18-year career. He played for eight teams and was a two-time All-Star.

The third pick of the 1995 draft, Jerry Stackhouse didn't pan out the way the Sixers hoped.
The third pick of the 1995 draft, Jerry Stackhouse didn't pan out the way the Sixers hoped.