While wondering where last night ranks among the great comeback stories in the city's history, it's time for an all-Allen Iverson edition of the mailbag. . . .

There's always talk about what "Philly guys" means. A.I. is the definition. He totally gets the fans and this city, he's completely honest and, probably most important, plays his [butt] off. Plus, his press conferences are must-see TV. I just hope Donovan [McNabb] was watching.

- Kevin

Kevin,

You had me until the "completely honest" part. Let's not get carried away. Iverson seemed sincere during the news conference last week, and I believe him when he says he's happy to be back in Philly. But no one is "completely honest."

It's interesting that you mention McNabb, though. When Five was asked about Iverson, he said multiple times that you often don't realize what you have until it's gone.

Subtle stuff. Hint, hint, Eagles fans.

- Gonzo

If [Iverson] loved us so much, where was he on fan appreciation night?

 - Chris

Chris,

Great question. If the prosecution wanted to indict him for fan love fraud, that would be the evidence presented to get a conviction.

He screwed up that night, but I still believe he loves the people here. Going back to the relationship analogy, when you're with someone for 10 years things can sometimes get stale. No matter how much you love the other person, you periodically take them for granted.

Remember, though, that he held plenty of impromptu fan appreciation nights over his career. How many times did he grab the microphone to thank the crowd or put his hand to his ear to acknowledge the fans? That doesn't excuse his boorish behavior, but we shouldn't forget that he frequently demonstrated real affection for Philly.

- Gonzo

I was skeptical of the move, but it made me realize that I really don't care about the Sixers without A.I.

- Colin

Colin,

You and me and everyone else. Ed Stefanski tried to reenergize the fan base with the Elton Brand signing, but we all know that hasn't exactly worked out. I give Stefanski and the organization credit for realizing how grim things became and then trying to create a little buzz around the team.

Sports are like movies. If the characters don't captivate and the plot doesn't entertain, you're changing the channel. Iverson is a leading man who commands attention. At least for a little while, it'll be nice to watch a star again - even if the rest of the production is still a mess.

- Gonzo

When A.I. cried, even I shed a tear. However, I shed a tear for the Sideways Sixers. Isn't the goal of professional sports teams to win championships? Can A.I. help the Sideways Sixers win one? I don't think so.

- Jeff

Jeff,

A title would be wonderful, but the Sixers weren't going anywhere without Iverson, and they aren't going anywhere with him, either. No matter what the team says, this is less about basketball than it is about entertaining the fans and giving the city something to talk about. That's not a terrible thing.

- Gonzo

I am 22 years old and grew up in Bucks County. I moved to Manhattan for work and the Sixers lost my interest. That all changed when Iverson re-signed. I know he's not the same player but seeing him in that uniform reminds me of all the Sixers games with my Dad. Iverson is a special connection to my childhood and I imagine there are thousands of fans who feel the same way.

- Jeff

Jeff,

I'm with you. When he started sobbing, it made me think of all the great times my buddies and I had together when we watched him play. Almost choked me up, too. I'm a total sucker for nostalgia. Good thing they didn't bring back Barkley. There wouldn't have been enough tissues for my tears.

- Gonzo

Even though the Eddies should be promptly fired, this was a no-brainer move. Even Wax and Fierce know that.

- Shawn

Shawn,

No-brainer move? Absolutely. But you'd be astonished by what Wax and Fierce don't know. These are guys who think the CIA conspired with the mob to kill Kennedy - which is totally absurd. Everyone knows it was LBJ.

- Gonzo

Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or gonzalez@phillynews.com.