By Harry Allison
You want to know who the Sixers’ new best friend is?
Rapper and home-grown Meek Mill!
The Sixers and Mill, the 28-year old Philly-born performer who has recorded several top five Billboard hits, yesterday invited a group of 30 children to the team’s training facility at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where a seminar was held in recognition of National Mentoring Month.
The 10-to-16-year olds took part in a question and answer session with Mill, during which he discussed his life, influences, the importance of mentorship, and his favorite memories of rooting for the Sixers.
“It feels good. It’s actually a dream of mine, giving back to the ones that look up to us,” he told a captive audience. He later added, “I got the opportunity to change peoples’ lives. Why not do it?”
The artist behind “All Eyes on You” realizes that public figures like musicians and professional athletes carry important leadership obligations, especially in respect to youth.
“The way they look up to basketball players and rappers, sometimes we need to show our face and not just entertain them on TV, and give them our real side, the real person we are,” Mill said. “It definitely feels good to be in a position to give back. We’re extremely blessed. We’re blessed to be living, and blessed to be in a situation where you’re a celebrity. I always love to give back.”
After his talk with area youth, some of which belonged to the organization “Shoot Basketballs Not People,” Mill headed down to the PCOM practice court, where he and his guests spent some time on the floor putting up shots, and hanging out with Sixers mascot Franklin, the Phlight Squad, and players Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor.
“Just to see these kids out here is great,” said Noel. “For us to give them some inspiration, and just help them motivate, and carry on, and be the best people they can be, and as successful as they can be in life.”
“I’ve definitely had some great mentors in my life that helped me learn throughout life,” Noel said. “I definitely think it’s a good thing for us, for me, and Jah, and Meek, to come out here and see people, especially in your own community, that have done great things not only for themselves but for the community as well.”
Mill attended the Sixers’ most recent home game, a 114-89 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, January 16th.
“I enjoy supporting everything from Philly,” Mill said. “Coming up, my whole upbringing comes from Philly. I enjoy supporting Philly.”