This was to be the introduction to the 2018/19 Sixers. The Team was gathering. The event staff, and media were beginning to assemble, but the rain, humidity and lack of Palestra air conditioning had the final say….
Tonight’s Blue x White Scrimmage scheduled for The Palestra at the University of Pennsylvania has been postponed due to weather-related issues that have impacted the arena. Out of an abundance of caution for player safety, the 76ers have postponed tonight’s event.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) September 25, 2018
PhillyFrontOffice cannot be accused of not having the bravest correspondents in the business after navigating the torrents of rain to make our way from 30th street station to the “Cathedral of College Basketball” on the University of Pennsylvania campus.
My walk from 30th street to the Palestra is one of the wettest we’ve seen from the standpoint of water. @SixersFONet #bluewhite
— J Blevins (@JBlevinsNBA) September 25, 2018
The Palestra hosted its first basketball game nearly 91 years ago. It has been called the most important building in all of college basketball. As home of the Big 5 it has stood as a mecca for Philadelphia basketball virtually since the beginning of the cities sports history.
However, history requires time and historically preserved arenas such as Wrigley field, Boston’s Fenway park and the Palestra tend to lack some of the modern facilities that make them comfortable and safe for modern sports.
Immediately upon arriving down to the arena floor the large fans were seen blowing furiously to attempt to dry the playing surface. Amid warm and swampy air the players began to trickle in and warm up. Joel Embiid was on the trainer’s table and getting his warm up begun even as others began to question if the floor would be viable for an event which is among the best events the team puts on.
And the event unfortunately was not to be. The playing surface was unlikely to dry to the point where it would have been safe for the team to play on. The team absolutely made the right call but it is a disappointment that our first look at one of the NBA’s most exciting teams will need to wait a little bit longer to be unveiled.