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GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 12: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona.

The Sixers have been knocked out in the 2nd round again. But this one hurts more than any of the other ones. Against the Raptors in 2018, you could argue they just ran into a great team and gave them a fight. The Hawks series had the Ben Simmons excuse. Embiid was badly injured in 2022 against the Heat. But this year? To go out like that with so little fight? It was embarrassing. Joel Embiid is a great player. But when the lights shined the brightest he came up small. Embiid did not show up when the Sixers need him too the most.

Just 15 points. The least ever by a player in a game 7 the year they won MVP. Old Man Al Horford locked him up. And Embiid showed no fight in trying to overcome his struggles. James Harden sucked too for what it’s worth. The former MVP looked like he did in games 2 and 3. A Nonfactor. Too scared to shoot, and missed everything when he actually tried to shoot.

The Sixers superstars did not show up. But instead of focusing on how awful they were, let’s bring some joy to our lives instead. Because there actually have been Philadelphia Athletes who showed up when it mattered. Guys who when their teams needed them, they came up big to get the team a win. Who when the lights shined the brightest, they looked their best.

Embiid and Harden failed us. But these 12 guys did not. Of course, there are more than 12. People who were left off the list were not left off because I don’t think they played well. These are just 12 of the first guys who came to my mind who showed up for their teams in the playoffs or even their respective championships when it mattered most.

  • Jalen Hurts

    The Eagles may have lost the Super Bowl, but man did Jalen Hurts show up. He put up one of the best performances by a Qb on the losing team in Super Bowl history. When the Eagles were trailing by 8 late, he dragged the Eagles down the field, scored the TD on his own, and then the 2pt conversion to tie it up. The defense could not get off the field with enough time left for Jalen Hurts to get a chance to do it again. But Jalen Hurts did his job He did not wilt when the lights shined the brightest.

  • Bryce Harper

    Bryce Harper’s scorching hot playoffs simmered off a bit in the World Series. But he is perhaps the main reason the Phillies got there to begin with. In the playoffs, he slashed .349/.414/.746. That included 6 home runs and 7 doubles. And of course, the biggest moment for him came in game 5 vs the Padres. When the Phillies were trailing and in danger of having to go back to San Diego he stepped up. And as Joe Davis put it, he had the “swing of his life”.

  • Danny Briere

    Another player whose team lost, but not because of what they did. Before he was the Flyers’ GM, a 32-year-old Danny Briere was carrying the Flyers to the Stanely Cup in 2010. 30 points in 23 games, including 12 in the Stanley Cup vs the Blackhawks. He led all skaters in points across the playoffs that year. That included 1 goal and an assist in the legendary game 7 to complete the comeback from down 3-0 vs the Bruins. Hopefully, he is as good of a GM as he was in that playoff run.

  • Moses Malone

    Joel Embiid did not show up in the playoffs the year he won MVP. But a different Sixers Center did back in 1983. Mose Malone won the MVP, but that was not enough for him. He went on to carry the Sixers to an NBA Finals victory and won Finals MVP for his efforts. He averaged 25.8 points, and 18 rebounds per game. Mose Malone came up huge when the lights were on him.

  • Nick Foles

    You dont need to be a Super Star though to step up big in the moment. Nick Foles, outside the Super Bowl run and one amazing full season here early in his career, was never that great of a QB. But he was at his best in the two biggest games of his career. First vs the Vikings to get to the Super Bowl. And then again in the Super Bowl itself, where he outdueled Tom Brady. With the game on the line, he drove down the field to find Zach Ertz for a game-winning TD, while Tom Brady dropped the ball twice. Once literally on a trick play. The other was when Brandon Graham, who could also be on this list, stripped the ball. Nick Foles is not a great Qb. But he was great when they most needed him to be.

  • Chase Utley

    The problem with picking someone from that era of Phillies was all the people who played the best in the 2008 World Series, kind of sucked in 2009. Cole Hamels won World Seris MVP in 2008 but then had an ERA over 10 in 2009. Ryan Howard hit 3 HRS in 2008, then barely showed up in 2009. So I went with Utley. He struggled a bit with his bat in 2008, but still gave them 2 HRs. And then in 2009 he and Cliff Lee were the only reason the Phillies were in that series vs the Yankees. Plus it was UItley throwing out Jason Bartlett at the plate that helped them win game 5 in 2008.

  • Bernie Parent

    Bernie Parent was pretty much a brick wall in goal in both of the Flyers’ Stanley Cups back in the 70s. He had a save percentage of over .930 both times. He held the Sabres to 11 goals in 6 games, and the Bruins to 13 goals in 6 games. Goalies win championships, and the Flyers may have no Stanley Cups if it was not for Bernie Parent. There were a lot of great Flyers in those two Stanley Cup series. But Parent’s goaltending, at least for me, standouts as truly stepping up.

  • Allen Iverson

    Another Sixers player who won MVP, and yet still showed up in the playoffs. Allen Iverson carried his team to those NBA Finals vs the Lakers. And carried them to their lone win in that series. As a team, they were way overmatched by that Lakers team. But Allen Iverson felt like the best player on the court. He averaged 35.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in those 5 games. That’s not even counting everything he did to get them to the Finals.  And of course, he gave us this iconic moment.

  • Terrell Owens

    Before everything went sideways, Terrell Ownes gave us a hell of an effort despite still recovering from a broken leg. 9 catches, for 122 yards. That was after not playing in any of the playoff games or the last few games of the season. He probably should not have been back that early. But he did and played out of his mind. What happened afterward was a shame. But T.O. still showed up in that game, even if it did not lead to a win.

  • Steve Carlton

    Another guy who won the major award, Cy Young, and then went on to also help his team win it all. Steve Carlton won Cy Young in 1980, came 5th in MVP voting, and then went on to win both his starts in the 1980 World Series with an ERA of 2.40. 15 innings, just 4 earned runs given up. Mike Schmidt also deserves a shoutout for his performance in that series.

  • Eric Lindros

    Like Embiid, Lindros was one of the best players of his generation. Unfortunately, he never won much here. But that was not for a lack of trying. In 3 straight playoffs, he had more points than he did games played. In the 97 playoffs, he had 12 goals and 14 assists over 19 games to help get them to the Stanley Cup. Now they got killed by the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup. But it was his great play that helped get them there. And he generally was playing well in the playoffs every year he helped get them there. Including the season he won the Hart Trophy. So another MVP who showed up when it actually mattered.

  • Jimmy Butler

    Playoff Jimmy Butler is a real thing. We saw it in the NBA Bubble when he carried a Heat team to the Finals. Now we are seeing it again as Jimmy Butler led the Heat to a win over the favorite Bucks and then the Knicks to get to the Eastern Conference Finals. And while it was not at the same level, we saw it in 2019 in his lone year with the Sixers. While Ben Simmons was missing in action, and Joel Embiid was battling a stomach bug and tough double teams by the Raptors, Jimmy Butler was the best player on the floor for the Sixers. 22 pts per game. His 3pt shot was not falling, but he gave it his all and almost had the Sixers beating the eventual champions.

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