Reflections From the Road | Bring That Bell, Brotha!
Over the course of the 76ers’ four-game, nine-day Western Conference road trip, we’ll be compiling a collection of short stories involving members of the team, and its traveling party.
Be sure to check back regularly for updates to our ‘Reflections From the Road’ series.
• Part I: Hard to Leave Home
• Part II: The Altitude, It's Real
• Part III: Binge Watching is Coming
• Part IV: A Summertime Destination
BRING THAT BELL, BROTHA!
It’s the day after another 76ers’ win, which means that just hours earlier, there had been cause for yet another ring of the team’s beloved locker room victory bell.
For this particular ringing, the 33rd of a promising 2018-19 season, the honor went to Mike Muscala, who provided spirited contributions off the bench in a needed bounce back showing against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Since its inception, the Sixers’ locker room bell has become an object of deep affection, the metallic manifestation of team unity and spirit.
The bell also has a schedule as busy as the players who ring it. It’s expected to have perfect attendance - every game, home or away.
As the Sixers’ senior equipment manager, Scott Rego is responsible for ensuring the bell’s safe passage from one place to the next, especially on the road.
“It travels in a case. It goes from my hands, to my car, to the airplane, and back. It’s loaded with the equipment when we land in another city, then it’s brought to my room.”
Does he ever let the bell out of sight?
“I try not to, no. It’s one of the first things I look for when we land, or when we get to a hotel, to make sure the bell made the trip.”
Prior to last season, while having a conversation with Brett Brown about team culture, Rego pitched an idea - win a game, ring the bell.
Brown loved the concept, then shared his thoughts on what the bell should look like. He let Rego (center in the picture below), a South Philadelphia native who’s worked with the Sixers for over three decades, take care of the rest.
“I hoped the bell would grow organically. I thought it would just catch on with the players and the staff, but not to where it’s gotten to at this point.”
These days, the post-game bell-ringing is a thing of viral content. It also serves as a source of anticipation - and debate - for members of the Sixers’ roster.
“Sometimes, the guys say this guy should do it, or they try to pick who it’s going to be before Coach does. It’s taken on a nice life of its own within the locker room.”
The most memorable rings so far for Rego during the bell’s relatively short but fruitful lifespan?
“Twice with Brett. When he beat San Antonio at home for the first time last season, the players started yelling, ‘Ring that bell! Ring that bell!’ And then after they playoff series win against Miami, the players were pretty hyped to get that bell rung in the locker room. That’s when you sit back and realize this really caught on. It’s what it’s all about.”
In Los Angeles, once Muscala had put the finishing touches on the latest rendition of the Sixers’ post-game ritual, Rego, per usual, stayed vigilant. For the man who had a key hand in bringing the bell to life, heavy rests the crown.
“For a while, I was carrying it in a cardboard box, and the cardboard box was just getting eaten alive. Finally, we got the Pelican case - nice and protected. It’s all good.”
Deserved VIP treatment for a now-cherished item.