It's been a milestone week for Pennsylvania teenager Kevin Grow. It would have been enough that Grow, who has Down syndrome, was given playing time in his high school's senior night basketball game and scored 14 points with just two minutes left in the game, leading the team to victory. But the week became truly unforgettable when the Philadelphia 76ers reached out to Grow asking him to be the NBA team's newest member.
"It's been a pretty crazy time for him," said Earl Grow, Kevin's father. "[The NBA getting in touch] was ridiculous. They had a full press conference and actually gave him a contract to sign. They let him practice with the team. He played one on one with Evan Turner, his favorite player. They've gone out of their way to make it really, really special."
The 76ers first heard of Grow when his high school coach, John Mullins, reached out to try to arrange something special for the 18-year-old. And then after seeing Grow's high school game-winning shot on SportsCenter, the team knew they wanted to get involved.
"Him being recognized by us has taken it to another level now with the inspiration he's really providing to all athletes," 76ers community relations manager Mike Goings said. "You can go out and achieve your goals."
Grow practiced Monday with the team and is set to take the court tonight with the full trappings of a professional player.
"We have a jersey for him in his locker with his name, sneakers and the whole thing. He'll be with the team, he'll help lead them out, he'll be introduced on court," Goings said. "He'll be out there when they're warming up and sit on the bench and things like that, but he won't actually play in the game."
His father summed up the magnitude of the event by saying, "For us, it changes his life. He's always going to be that kid that got the NBA contract and scored the points in the game. His life in Bensalem will be different."
On its Twitter account, the team posted video and photos of the teen, who beamed as he stood with his high school team members tonight during the game’s half-time. Grow was dressed in his own team jersey – number 33.
A video posted on the team’s Instagram account shows the teen jumping up and down as he awaited the announcement of his name before the start of the game. He ran out onto the court when his name was called, where he was received by cheering fans and his honorary 76ers teammates.
On social media, people praised the NBA team for its treatment of Grow.
“This is a wonderful gift to this young boy! Go Kevin!!” one woman wrote on Instagram, while another added: “We aren't the best team. But this is why I have so much respect for this team.”Also Read