The Philadelphia 76ers haven't been part of many heartwarming stories this season. Yet on Feb. 18, the Sixers warmed some hearts by introducing their new temporary player. Bensalem High School senior and basketball team manager Kevin Grow, who is afflicted with Downs Syndrome, scored 14 points in the last two minutes of a Senior Night game on Feb. 8, then joined the Sixers on a two-day contract 10 days later.
But after Grow was introduced with the team before it faced the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Sixers went back to business as usual. Their 114-85 loss to the Cavaliers started the second half of the season much like the first half of the year ended.
Kyrie Irving took the court for the first time since winning the All-Star Game MVP, yet the Cavaliers only needed 14 points from him. Six other Cavaliers scored in double figures, with Tyler Zeller's 18 points leading the way. Meanwhile, the Sixers only shot 35.6 percent from the floor and went just five-for-22 from beyond the arc.
This performance at home was better than the 40+ point defeats the Sixers suffered on the road before the All-Star break, but not by much. Philadelphia started the first half of the season by beating the Miami Heat, but it obviously wasn't a harbinger of things to come, although this second-half opener may be. However, it will likely be for the best as far as the NBA draft lottery is concerned.
This harsh reality makes stories like Grow's all the more valuable, and all the more necessary for perspective. While the Sixers as a team are a mess, the Sixers as an organization are still capable of a real win once in a while. Even if Philadelphia's professional athletes weren't in turmoil, Grow would still be the most accomplished player in the area right now.
Spending two days with the Sixers likely qualified as two of the greatest days of Grow's life, especially when he was introduced with the team. At the least, one remarkable young man was proud to stand alongside the Sixers -- even if they're making it hard for others to feel proud of them right now.