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HomeBasketball TodayPhilly's Crowned Hero: Tyrese Maxey's Majestic Giving and Reflections

Philly’s Crowned Hero: Tyrese Maxey’s Majestic Giving and Reflections

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Tyrese Maxey partnered with a Philadelphia nonprofit group to provide a shopping spree for local students.

PHILADELPHIA — A crowd of kids from Unity in the Community, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping young people, gathered around the entrance at the Roosevelt Mall’s SNIPES store to see who their guest of honor would be. A few minutes later, Philadelphia 76ers star Tyrese Maxey showed up to host a shopping spree.

For their excellence in the classroom, they each got $500 to spend at SNIPES and pal around with Maxey on Tuesday afternoon. The All-Star guard stressed the importance of getting good grades immediately upon meeting the group.

“I was just telling them the same thing that my mom told me: you can’t play basketball without these good grades,” Tyrese Maxey explained. “Whatever they want to do in life — it may not just be basketball, they may want to be doctors or lawyers, whatever it is — but you can’t do that without the school part. You gotta take that extremely seriously. I know I did when I was a kid. My mom was on me from day one, when I was in second and third grade — on me about trying to make all A’s and GPA and stuff that I didn’t know abouttil high school.”

Maxey recalled having a 3.8 grade point average in high school and a 3.9 in his lone year at the University of Kentucky. He passed down the message from his mom to the kids, saying that they had earned a spot in the event because of their hard work in school.

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“My mom just didn’t play. She didn’t play about those grades,” Maxey said.As long as I kept my grades up, I got to play basketball.” 

Rocking a pair of red and gray New Balance 1906R sneakers, Maxey steered shoppers in the direction of buying New Balance kicks, the brand he represents as a signature athlete. He posed for pictures and interacted with the kids as they perused the store. He greeted one young fan with a high five and waited patiently as his dad walked through the nickname they have for him: “Mr. 51,” a nod to his career-high in points that he set last week.

Tyrese Maxey became the latest 76ers player to host a SNIPES shopping spree after Patrick Beverley, who gave back to the community during the holiday season. As an NBA player — let alone an All-Star — Maxey knows how much kids look up to him, especially those who are growing up in his new home.

Philadelphia sports fans of every age admire Maxey and carry high expectations for him. Still on a rookie-scale contract, the 6-foot-2 guard has become a paramount fixture of hope for the present and the future of not just the 76ers but all of the Philly sports scene. At just 23 years old, the Dallas-area native carries a burden more typical of a veteran, in-his-prime star.

The weight on his shoulders would crush many other players. But with a smile on his face, Tyrese Maxey harnesses it and uses it as motivation. “It’s a good feeling. It’s a good thing,” he said.

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With Joel Embiid recovering from a meniscus injury and numerous other starters banged up, Maxey — who hasn’t been spared himself, previously dealing with an ankle sprain and now fighting off an illness — has a gigantic role to serve for the 76ers. He will be guarded like a superstar with Embiid sidelined. It’s up to him and the team to scheme up ways to overcome that. Maxey will have to mature his game quickly to keep up. Fortunately, growing up in a hurry has defined his tenure with the Sixers.

“I kind of just jumped right into it, honestly. I got dropped into, as a 20-year-old, dropped into a team that’s trying to contend,” Maxey said. “So even my rookie year, I think I really had to learn that. I wasn’t just out there competing. I wasn’t just out there playing for a spot. Every time I stepped foot on that court and laced them up, we was out there trying to win a championship.”

Maxey gave shoutouts to former head coach Doc Rivers and former assistant coach Sam Cassell for preaching to him that chances to win are priceless. The 76ers needed Maxey to become a surefire contributor as badly as he wanted to prove he could be one. The high-paced environment led him to accelerate his game, which has become crucial as his role on the team grows with each season, from bench player to third option to second option/lead guard to emergency first option.

Maxey is never one to complain about the massive expectations placed upon him. Over his career, the 76ers have asked him to do just about everything from sacrificing his starting role to leading the way as the main guy. Through and through, no matter what new obstacle heads his way, Maxey stays firm and ready to take it on.

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Being on the cover of SLAM and the subject of a profile story in GQ only sparks more pride in Maxey among the Philadelphia faithful. His status as an NBA star is only growing. Receiving his first All-Star nomination is a major accomplishment that signifies his talent and the tireless work that fortifies it. It was “surreal” to earn the nod, he said, and makes him want to “inspire even more kids, even more people.”

Tyrese Maxey passed on his personal mantra of “Keep getting 1% better” to the Unity in the Community kids, who are just a handful of fans who look to him for greatness.

“I just really do appreciate the city of Philadelphia,” Maxey said.Like I said, it’s like my second home away from Dallas now. I just really do appreciate it. Almost brings tears of joy to my eye seeing so many kids with [No. 0] jerseys and Maxey jerseys. It’s just love, all love, and I appreciate it.

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