SBD/February 19, 2014/Franchises

76ers Honor Local Teen With Down Syndrome, Sign Him To Ceremonial Contract

Grow gained attention when he scored 14 points in a recent high school game
The 76ers on Monday signed Kevin Grow, a high school senior with Down Syndrome, "to a ceremonial two day contract" that included a "special presentation" during last night's home game against the Cavaliers, according to Marc Narducci of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Grow "got to play in two late-season games" for his Benslahem High School varsity basketball team, and "made the most of his opportunity when he scored 14 points against Neshaminy, hitting four three-pointers." The accomplishment "put Grow in the national spotlight and gained [the] undivided attention" of the Sixers (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/18). In Philadelphia, Bob Cooney notes Grow has "become somewhat of a national star." Sixers coach Brett Brown called Grow's contract "a brilliant idea by someone." Sixers C Spencer Hawes: "It's good fun to have him around. For as much bad that comes out of social media, it's good to see stories like that go viral." Grow last night was "introduced by public address announcer Matt Cord as the sixth man before the game, stood in line with the players during the national anthem and was honored during the second quarter" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/19). Philadelphia-based KYW-CBS' Beck & Wing noted Grow's contract was "offered in-person" on Monday by Sixers GM Sam Hinkie at the team's practice facility. Grow then "got to spend the night eating with his new teammates, touring the facilities, and on the floor for practice with the team." The Harlem Globetrotters also are "planning to honor" Grow with their Junior Phenom award (CBSLOCAL.com, 2/17).

MEDIA BUZZ: ESPN’s "SportsCenter" was among TV outlets picking up the story last night, with anchor Steve Levy saying, "Good job by the Philadelphia 76ers organization tonight. And after all of this, the final score didn't even matter." Levy later awarded the “Star of the Night” to Grow during the show's "3 Stars of the Night" segment. Levy said the Sixers are “losing on a regular basis by 40 points, or so it seems. Tonight they lost by 29, but in my book, the 76ers are winners" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 2/18). ESPN’s Kevin Connors said, "Great story in Philadelphia and a commendable job by that organization in what has been a tough year" (“NBA Coast to Coast,” ESPN2, 2/18).
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