When the Philadelphia 76ers take the court on Thursday night looking to bounce back from a resounding Game 1 defeat to even their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Boston Celtics, they’ll do so with recently freed friend of the program Meek Mill watching live and in person at TD Garden.
The Philadelphia rapper, who was released on bail on April 24 after spending nearly five months in prison following a controversial sentencing over a parole violation, celebrated his freedom by heading straight to Game 5 of the opening-round series between the 76ers and Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center, driven by Sixers co-owner and friend Michael Rubin. Meek Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, served as the evening’s guest of honor, opening the festivities by ringing the Sixers’ replica Liberty Bill before watching as Philly rolled past the Heat and into the second round of the playoffs.
Now, with the Sixers already down a game in the best-of-seven semifinals, Rubin will once again travel with Meek Mill to Boston to take in more postseason action and perhaps inspire a change in the team’s fortunes, according to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio:
Mill has become friends with several Sixers stars and met with players and team personnel before and after the 76ers’ Game 5 win over Miami. Rubin will hope his presence helps inspire the 76ers as they look to avoid a 2-0 series deficit in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The rapper has been fighting a two- to four-year sentence for a probation violation. He was jailed in November 2017 after failing a drug test, traveling out of the region and getting arrested for allegedly fighting and other related offenses.
Prosecutors have said they believe Mill should get a new trial because of questions raised about the credibility of the officer in his 2007 arrest.
According to Natalie Weiner of Bleacher Report, Mill will not only attend the game as a guest of the Sixers, but will sit courtside at the Garden alongside Rubin and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who followed in the footsteps of several 76ers players last month by visiting Mill in prison.
“He’s an amazing young man,” Kraft said of Meek Mill. “[…] We have to do something with criminal justice reform. It’s just wrong. We have to find a way to correct it and also help the community. […] This guy is a great guy and shouldn’t be here.”
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