Mar 21, 2011, 4:47 PM EDT
Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we’ll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.
The man who ran the point for the Sixers for 11 straight seasons, including the 1983 NBA Championship team that reigned as the last Philly team to bring a parade down Broad Street for way, way too long. Mo Cheeks was your classic point guard. Unselfish, a crafty defender, and a quiet unassuming leader on the court. He was named to the NBA’s All Defensive first team four times (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986) and selected for the All-Star game four times (1983, 1986, 1987, 1988). His pass-first, team-oriented style of play was often credited for transforming the early 80s Sixers team from a team full of stars — with the likes of Julius, Moses, Bobby, and Andrew — into world champions. “If you want to learn the game, watch Maurice Cheeks,” legendary Sixers writer Phil Jasner once said. Younger Sixers fans may remember Cheeks more for his time as coach of the Sixers during a dark period in the franchise’s history, and, of course, for the time he helped that poor little girl sing the national anthem, but the image of Cheeks capping off the ’83 championship win with a dunk against the Lakers is the most vivid basketball memory I have from my childhood, even if it was based off of seeing it on highlight videos. In February 2011, Cheeks was named one of the 12 finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame.
A shutdown defender who won the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the team’s most outstanding defenseman a remarkable seven times, Eric Desjardins came over to the Flyers from Montreal, a team he won a Stanley Cup with in 1993, alongside John LeClair and Gilbert Dionne in exchange for March Recchi and a draft pick in 1995. In addition to being one of the premier puck movers in the league, Desjardins had a great shot that was a dangerous powerplay asset. Tied with Mark Howe for most career powerplay goals for a Flyers defenseman, he was also great at breaking up plays with his stick, kind of like Kimmo Timonen on the current Flyers team. Desjardins wore the ‘C’ on his sweater after Eric Lindros was stripped of it in March of 2000. One of just 16 men to hold the honor of being the Flyers captain, Desjardins wore it in 2000-01 before passing it on to Keith Primeau the following season. He was named to play in the NHL All-Star game in three different seasons. Desjardins officially announced his retirement in August 2006 after 11 seasons in Philadelphia. He was honored by the Flyers with Eric Desjardins Night in a game against Montreal in 2007.
See all of the Philly March Madness matchups here.
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