Philadelphia 76ers to Sign Special-Needs Teen to Ceremonial Two-Day Contract
The National Basketball Association's Philadelphia 76ers are in the midst of a painful rebuilding season, but today, they made sure the season wouldn't be entirely a wasted year.
The Sixers announced on Monday that they would sign Bensalem High School (Pa.) senior Kevin Grow to a "ceremonial two-day contract" at the team's practice facility at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET. Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie will personally present the contract offer to the teenager.
What makes this situation so unique? Grow has Down syndrome.
The 18-year-old has been Bensalem High's team manager for the past four seasons, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Earlier this month, Grow checked into the team's Senior Day game with two minutes left and quickly proceeded to knock down four three-point shots.
He finished the game with 14 points, as Bensalem's opponent, Neshaminy High School, also allowed him to score an uncontested layup at the start of the game.
"It's tough to describe. It really is," said John Mullin, Bensalem's boys' basketball coach, said of Grow's performance in the game. "It's one of those things that doesn't happen often."
Once the Sixers caught wind of Grow's accomplishments, they decided to take matters into their own hands. After signing his ceremonial contract, Grow will "eat dinner in the players lounge, tour the practice facility, and receive Sixers gear," according to the team's press release. He'll also join the team on the floor toward the end of practice to shoot around with his temporary teammates.
On Tuesday night, before the Sixers take the court against the Cleveland Cavaliers, he'll go back into the locker room to see his own personalized locker and will receive a custom jersey. He'll also take part in the high-five tunnel and stand with the team during the national anthem.
The Memphis Grizzlies did something similar two months ago with 8-year-old Charvis Brewer, who has cerebral palsy.
Moments like these make the NBA Cares initiative shine brightest.
UPDATE, 6:00 p.m. ET: Behold, the newest member of the Philadelphia 76ers:
Want all the latest K-12 sports news? Follow @SchooledinSport on Twitter.