Philadelphia 76ers Sign Special Needs High Schooler to Two-Day Contract

Image courtesy of RMTip21, licensed through Flickr via Creative Commons

Image courtesy of RMTip21, licensed through Flickr via Creative Commons

Sitting six spots out of the playoff race and not particularly upset about it, the Philadelphia 76ers have decided to use this season to help facilitate a feel-good story while their team toils in the doldrums of the draft lottery. Kevin Grow, the manager of the boys basketball team at Bensalem High School, is a senior with Downs Syndrome. For the last two games of the season, he saw the floor with the varsity squad. After scoring a layup, Grow caught fire in full NBA Jam fashion, sinking four threes in under two minutes to help turn the game into a blowout.

Bensalem High School is in Pennsylvania (in Bensalem Pennsylvania, to be exact). As that clip was beginning to go circulate, the 76ers’ organization grew aware of it, and decided to take advantage of their less-than-competitive bent to do something cool for the global and local basketball community. As of 5:30 p.m. Monday, Grow was in the middle of a two-day NBA contract with the Sixers.

The contract was presented by Philly GM Sam Hinkie at the team’s practice facility. With the trade deadline looming on Thursday and for a fanbase that’s been more concerned with the NCAA than the NBA this year, Grow’s inclusion into the Sixers family, however ceremonial, is something to celebrate. The 76ers will probably lose more games this year, but at least they can enjoy what their team did with Kevin Grow.

According to the organization’s press release, “after he signs his two-day contract, Grow will eat dinner in the players lounge, tour the practice facility, and receive Sixers gear. He will join the team on the floor toward the end of practice, meet and shoot around with his new teammates, [and] be greeted by his coaches.” He will also participate in the high five tunnel entrance, stand with the team during shoot around and the National Anthem in today’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Philadelphia is currently 15-39, good for 14th in the Eastern Conference. If their season ended today, they would have almost a 20 percent chance of winning the draft lottery and ending up with the first overall pick. Their pick has a 55 percent chance of landing in the top three, and they now most likely have a rather significant karmic advantage over other teams vying for that draft pick. All lottery statistics pulled from Tankathon’s mock lottery.

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