Kevin Grow signs with Sixers
by Max Rappaport
Sometimes in sports, moments occur that are truly transcendent. Game-winning shots, overtime touchdowns, walk-off homeruns – the things that make us get up out of our seats and enthusiastically embrace the stranger sitting next to us.
Sports have an ability to bring people together like few other things can, and this week we were reminded of that fact.
When 18-year-old Kevin Grow took to the floor at Bensalem High School during Senior Night against Neshaminy last week, little did he know that what would happen next would make national headlines.
Grow was born with Down syndrome and has served as the manager of the Bensalem boys basketball team for the last four seasons. When he entered Saturday’s game against Neshaminy, it was his second game ever. The first had come one night earlier, when he scored a layup and hit one free throw against Abington, finishing with three points. With two minutes left in the game on Senior Night, Bensalem head coach John Mullin called Kevin’s number. What happened next was remarkable.
Grow hit four three-pointers in the final two minutes of the game, igniting the crowd and lifting Bensalem to a 64-40 win over Neshaminy. The whole thing was caught on film, and within hours, it’d gone viral.
The video even made its way to Sixers President and General Manager Sam Hinkie, who decided to sign Grow to a two-day contract.
“What do you say?” said Sixers head coach Brett Brown. “You just walk away and have a little bit more appreciation for a bunch of things. It’s a grounding effect when you see something like that.”
Kevin arrived at the team’s training facility Monday night for his first practice as a member of the Sixers. He received a practice jersey, ate a pre-practice meal with his new teammates, and then took to the court to go through drills with the coaching staff.
"By far, Kevin's favorite team is the Sixers, and he was so excited just to be able to come down here and see practice," said his sister Laura. "But to be a part of the team, and when we got downstairs to see all the media there, it was even more of a surprise. This whole thing's just taken a mind of its own, and it's just such a neat experience."
When the Sixers host the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday night, Grow will have a customized uniform waiting for him in the locker room. He and his family will then head out on the floor to watch pregame warmups from the team’s bench, take part in the high-five tunnel during introductions, and stand alongside his teammates during the national anthem.
Kevin’s inspirational story is a reminder of all the good that sports can do, and it’s a reminder of all the good that we can do when we work together.
Strong kids. Strong communities. SIXERS STRONG.