PHILADELPHIA -- Samuel Dalembert knows the pulse of the Philadelphia sports fan very well.
Dalembert played for the Philadelphia 76ers from 2001-'10. So when he was told that Eagles fans once booed Santa Claus and also cheered Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin while he laid on the ground with a career-ending neck injury, that was no surprise to Dalembert.
"I saw a little kid, when I was here, singing the national anthem and missed (a note of) the national anthem and they started booing the little kid,'' Dalembert said after Friday's shootaround. "It's just something about Philly.
"They can get on your nerves, but at the same time you get that love back from them. Its just so much history here and so much passion with the sports fans.''
Dalembert, who now is the starting center for the Dallas Mavericks, still has a home in Philadelphia. He was able to sleep in his own bed Thursday night as the Mavs (32-23) prepare to play the Sixers (15-40) at 6 tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.
After the Sixers traded Dalembert to Sacramento in the summer of 2010, he said he got booed during his first game with the Kings in Philadelphia.
"I had a group and they were cheering,'' Dalembert said. "And I had some guys that booed me.
"They're my boys, but they're still booing me. I'm getting booed a lot more. You're going to see them today, saying, "Come back, come back,' then they're going to be booing.''
In all, Dalembert basically became a man during his time in Philadelphia. He was here for the good, bad and ugly days of the Sixers, who are currently going through some turbulent times.
"That was where everything began -- wonderful days,'' Dalembert said. "The city embraced me and gave me an opportunity.
"I learned a lot here, I made a lot of friends here and I still keep a home here. I like it here.''
And once his career is over, Dalembert plans to live here.
"You know deep inside they don't really hate you,'' Dalembert said. "It's just they're passionate about the game, their city, their team.
"Some of them will want me to still be here, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. But I had nothing but good experiences here.''
-- Dwain Price
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