Posted on January 17, 2014 by Jason Wolf
PHILADELPHIA – Sixers rookie center Nerlens Noel welcomed 16-year-old Braxton Upthegrove, a kidney transplant patient from Kentucky, to Friday night’s game against the Miami Heat.
Noel, who starred as a freshman at Kentucky last season, surprised Upthegrove with a taped message played during halftime of his high school’s basketball game Tuesday. Upthegrove, who is awaiting a second kidney transplant, is the team’s manager.
“Braxton, why don’t you and your mom come join me in just a few days to watch my team play the Miami Heat,” Noel said in the video. “Be my guest.”
Noel, 19, who was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He was cleared to resume limited basketball activity earlier this week, but it remains unclear if he will play this season.
This isn’t the first time Noel has reached out to a youngster in need of some positive vibes, though he dislikes publicizing his good deeds. He invited 7-year-old Kelly Melton, a leukemia patient, to the Kentucky Derby in May.