PHILADELPHIA, PA—Tommy Winsome was five years away from being born the last time the Philadelphia 76ers competed for an NBA championship. But now that 9-year-old Winsome—currently battling leukemia—has joined the team, the Sixers are poised to win one in Tommy’s lifetime.
Winsome signed an honorary 1-day contract with the team last week, during which he hung out with Sixers players (none of whom he or his father recognized), took pictures with team mascot Hip-Hop (whom they did recognize), and played some pickup with the team after their practice (they actually needed a tenth player).
But during the pickup game, head coach Brett Brown made a discovery: Winsome got game.
“I was amazed by the kid’s ability. No one on this team shows the same amount of heart, commitment, or sheer talent,” said Coach Brown of Winsome’s dazzling performance at the Sixers practice facility at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Right then and there, I knew we had to sign him for real.”
And NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has given mercy to the struggling squad, signing a special provision that would allow Winsome to suit up and take to the professional court. “I think we can all agree,” Silver said in a memo from his office, “that under circumstances like these, the league’s age minimum can be overlooked. After all, the city of Philadelphia could use someone recognizable they can rally around, and the Sixers could use some more wins.”
Winsome has not disappointed as an official member of the team so far, either. Taking on last season’s Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams in workouts, Winsome has made clear that he is not going to languish on the end of the bench: “Cee Dub’s got more to lose, and I’m gonna take it all from him. If you can’t earn your starting spot, then get the f— off the court and let the real dogs run, feel me?”
Despite Carter-Williams newfound challenge, the rest of the team seems to have galvanized around the 4’8” spark plug. Jerami Grant, a tall gentleman who insisted that he really is on the team, said, “We love the kid. Before he came, it was hard to take the game seriously. But with him out there, you realize there’s more to basketball than tankin—I mean rebuilding.” Another alleged Sixer calling himself Henry Sims added, “No way we can spout that line that we play every game like it’s our last when Tommy’s around. He gets real testy about that one.”
Sources have confirmed that Winsome has won the starting point guard spot from Carter-Williams, and will make his debut against Orlando Magic this Wednesday. Sixers fans are already giddy with anticipation.
Says Rickey Hinds of Penn’s Landing, “I used to joke that my sister and her friends could beat the Sixers. Now with Tommy in the mix, I’m not so sure.”