Billy King's tenure with the 76ers peaked in 2001, when the three most-visible players in the NBA met in the league finals.

Allen Iverson by himself wasn't a match for Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, and since then the Sixers haven't managed to beat up on anybody except Ed Snider's accountants.

But that's not why the shaven-headed Dukie got the terrible swift sword last week.

King was fired because the once fabled 76ers were on the verge of sinking to the level of such nonentities as the Memphis Grizzlies or the Tampa Bay "don't call me Devil" Rays.

Franchises just one step above the Arena League.

The 76ers once featured stars so famous you knew them by one name, as people know "Hillary" or "Britney," or a nickname.

The faces of this franchise were named Wilt, Billy C, Wally Wonder, Dr. J, The Boston Strangler, Prince Charles and Bubba Chuck.

King's last team is a nameless, faceless non-contender.

What does it tell you that new GM Ed Stefanski is better known around town than any of his current players?

It tells you that something had to be done and that coach Mo Cheeks was more popular with the fans than was King.

PhilaTrivia.

Which general manager currently working in Philadelphia has won the most championships?

In or out.

I have no idea whether Marvin Miller - the man who made baseball players as rich and famous as rock stars - belongs in the Hall of Fame.

But Jim Bouton does.

In an interview with Allen Barra of the Village Voice, the former Yankees pitcher and player rep called out modern-day players for not pushing for the former union boss's election to the hall.

"I blame the players," he said of Miller's omission in last week's election of old-timers. "It's their Hall of Fame. It's their balls and bats that make the hall what it is. Where are the public outcries from Joe Morgan or Reggie Jackson, who was a player rep? Why don't these guys see that some of their own get on these committees? That's the least they owe Marvin Miller.

"Do they think they became millionaires because of the owners' generosity?"

Media zoo.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals used the Barry Bonds appearance in federal court on Friday as a means of publicizing their cause. For a change, the group actually used humor.

The anti-meat organization sent a pair of bikini-clad "lettuce ladies" to hand out faux-turkey sandwiches outside the San Francisco courthouse.

The group had announced its plans in a statement on Thursday:

"The growth-promoting drugs given to chickens make them grow faster than Barry Bonds' hat size," PETA said.

Finally.

Some weeks ago, I noted that virtually everyone in Philadelphia expected this to be Donovan McNabb's final season as the Eagles' quarterback, and pointed out that if such was not the case, the Eagles should issue a forthright statement to that effect.

It took a while, but team president Joe Banner made such a statement on WIP on Thursday afternoon. Almost.

"I can't envision a situation in which he is not our quarterback next year," Banner said. "My expectation - and I can't even picture a different scenario - is that he'll be our quarterback next year."

Banner could still be overridden by his football people if they made a persuasive case for another quarterback.

But right now, 2008 looks a lot like '05, '06 and '07.

Happy New Year!

Trivia answer.

Phillies GM Pat Gillick won two World Series with the Toronto Blue Jays.

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