From Dr. J and Charles Barkley, to Allen Iverson and Eric Snow, to Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, PAL’s partnership with the 76ers has certainly seen the likes of giants. PAL and the Sixers celebrated a milestone anniversary last night. PAL Night at the Sixers – the 30th annual – rocked The Center as the Sixers took on the Orlando Magic.
PAL’s annual Commissioner’s Club event was an extra special one – PAL’s Reading Program also joined in to celebrate the achievements of its top readers during the event. Nearly 300 PAL kids and teens with twinkling smiles peppered the stands as they took in the evening’s festivities with their friends and PAL police officers.
Prior to tip-off, Keller Williams, The Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter of NECA and IBEW Local Union 98, and SugarHouse Casino each presented $5,000 to newly appointed Police Commissioner Richard Ross in support of PAL’s mission of “Cops Helping Kids” and its youth development programming.
PAL’s top two readers, Allan from Southwest PAL and Samneenah from Logan PAL, were rewarded for their hard work and dedication to reading, and were invited to join the Commissioner and other PAL representatives on the court for the presentation. Minutes later, Allan, Sameenah, and PAL reps took center court once again, this time, to present a community service award to Sixers’ swingman Robert Covington.
As play halted for the half, an excited squad of Harrowgate PAL kids swarmed the court to play in the annual PAL Night at the Sixers PAL Kids versus Media All-Star Halftime Game. The talented Media team, consisting of Frank Lewis from WOGL, Cherri Gregg from KWY, Marc Farzetta from WIP, WXTU’s Crockett, Jennaphr Fredrick from FOX 29, Mina SayWhat from Power 99, Matt Mullin from PhillyVoice, John Clark from Comcast SportsNet, David Gryzbowski from PHL17, Pat Gallen from CBS 3, and 6abc’s Wendy Saltzman played with heart, but the sizzling-hot Harrowgate team proved too much to handle.
Saltzman, a PAL Night at the 76ers rookie, had a blast. “These PAL kids were great! What an amazing opportunity to showcase all the hard work they have put into learning how to play basketball, and more importantly be part of a team,” she said. “Of course they whooped the so-called “Media All-Stars” and ran circles around us. The excitement was contagious. It could not have been a more thrilling environment, on the Sixers home court at halftime. The PAL kids had no fear and owned the court! I was proud to be a part of such a worthwhile event and can’t wait to see what stars these students become,” she continued.
Post win, the Harrowgate players couldn’t contain their excitement. Not only did they get to play with some of their favorite local celebrities on the Sixers’ court, they also cruised to an easy win. Longtime Harrowgate PAL member, Josh, who has actively participated in Harrowgate PAL’s free programming since the center opened in 2011, remarked that the memorable evening was “the best night of my life.”
PAL’s partnership with the Sixers is an example of “Cops Helping Kids” at its very finest.