For a second yesterday, I thought I was in the wrong building. I have a fairly good sense of direction, but shortly after noon I worried that I'd accidentally wandered into the NovaCare Complex instead of the Wachovia Center.
The 76ers' new head coach, Eddie Jordan, was up on stage. He was sitting next to the team's president and general manager, Ed Stefanski. Behind them was the organization's logo. Everything looked like it was for the Sixers. But most of it sounded like it had been prepared by the Eagles' spin doctors.
"What wins in this league is talent," Jordan said.
I totally agree. So the Sixers must be in a lot of trouble because there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of talent on this team.
But if you listened to the way Jordan responded to the questions, the Sixers are just fine. Maybe even better than fine.
Jordan said he has two "superstars" on the team (apparently Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala). He said he had three all-stars in Washington and could have that many here (presumably Brand, Iguodala and, uh, your guess is as good as mine). And he hinted that the core of the team is solid.
The core of the team, if you've forgotten, ended its season with a blowout loss to the Orlando Magic. But don't sweat it. Stefanski and Jordan seemed pretty pleased that the Magic are in the NBA Finals - as though losing to them somehow makes the Sixers better by association.
But there were two truly great moments yesterday - the kind of over-the-top nonsense that would have gotten Andy Reid's PR pants all excited.
When asked about the team's dreadful long-distance shooting, Jordan insisted Iguodala and a few others can step outside and hit shots. Then Jordan added that he hasn't seen him do it, but he's heard Jason Smith can shoot.
That would be 7-footer Jason Smith - a guy who didn't play at all last year and who might not be able to hit a shot from inside, let alone from outside. And if the Princeton offense relies on moving the team's on-the-mend giants behind the arc, then the Sixers have bigger problems than we thought.
But my favorite line came when someone asked Jordan what will happen if the Sixers don't re-sign point guard Andre Miller.
"Who did the Bulls have at point guard?" Jordan asked rhetorically.
He was talking about the Bulls who had that other Jordan - the same Bulls who won six championships. Basically, Jordan was saying that Lou Williams and whomever else they find will be just fine running the point.
Every new coach blows a little smoke at an introductory news conference. That was more like lighting an entire pack of Marlboro reds all at once.
The whole thing reminded me of Reid talking about his wide receivers and how the Eagles never needed to upgrade.
Todd Pinkston? Awesome.
Freddie Mitchell? Great.
Reggie Brown? Quality.
Jason Smith? Wait until you see him drain three-balls, brother.
So the Sixers should shine up their parade shoes and buy a mess load of ticker tape, right? Not exactly. Jordan said the team has been "successful to a point" and that "it's time to go uptown," but he wouldn't explain what that means exactly. I hope "uptown" isn't another first-round playoff exit for him and the Sixers because we've all seen that before, and it isn't particularly pretty.
But I suppose the news conference could have been worse. At least Jordan didn't tell us "time's yours."
The King's not dead. But he might have to share his throne.
Last week, WIP-AM (610) put Rob Ellis in the booth with longtime afternoon drive host Howard Eskin. The last time Eskin had a cohost was back in 2002 when he worked with Mike Missanelli. How ironic.
Missanelli, who has a competing afternoon drive show on ESPN-AM (950), recently beat Eskin's ratings in the ever-important 25-54 male demographic. According to a source at WIP, Ellis will be paired with Eskin at least through tomorrow's show and possibly longer. Then "everything will be reevaluated."
"You could read this as a response to Missanelli overtaking Eskin in the ratings," the source said. "The station and Eskin are worried. Big time."
A message left for WIP station manager Marc Rayfield was not returned.
I ran into Eskin yesterday at the Sixers news conference. He said he plans to take vacation time this summer and having Ellis on the program now will ensure a "seamless" handoff if/when Ellis fills in for him later. Eskin also said he's enjoyed working with Ellis and wouldn't have a problem if management makes him a permanent member of the afternoon drive show.
"This isn't about ego," Eskin said. "Everyone has one, but you have to control it."
When I asked Eskin whether suddenly working with a partner had anything to do with Missanelli's success, he denied that was the case.
"I don't worry about [Missanelli]," Eskin said. "I've established myself in this town. I've never been fired by a radio station. I've never been fired by four radio stations. I don't think about him."
Missanelli said he's only been fired twice, not four times. But who's counting?
"Those comments are complete desperation," Missanelli said. "The people have fired him. That's all that counts."
Ever heard cats fight? Sounds a lot like those two.