Despite the impending rain, fans gathered in Rodney Square to welcome the 87ers to Delaware Wednesday afternoon.
Fans were joined by Wilmington Mayor Dennis P. Williams, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, 87ers President Aaron Moszer, Philadelphia 76ers CEO Scott O’Neil and Comcast SportsNet’s Malik Rose.
Gov. Markell issued a proclamation that today would be “87ers Day” and Wilmington welcomed the new team with a pep rally. The 87ers, or Sevens for short, are an NBA Developmental team, in other words a minor league team consisting of players trying to make an impression and get a promotion to the NBA. The team is owned by and affiliated with the Philadelphia 76ers. The 87ers will play at the University of Delaware in the Bob Carpenter Center beginning in November.
Coons spoke about how recently graduated All-American college player Elena Delle Donne completely changed Delaware’s expectations for basketball and he hopes that the lingering excitement will bring fans down to the University of Delaware again this year to cheer on the 87ers.
Williams said he believes Delaware needs more sports: “The 87ers will help to boost the Delaware economy and help put Delaware on the map. We are looking for minor league sports and we need more than one.”
Thirty percent of NBA players had a stint in the D League, 76ers CEO Scott O’Neil told the crowd. He added that 11 of last years first-round picks in the NBA draft ended up playing for some time in the “D League.: O’Neil said he wanted to make sure that fans understood they would see real basketball talent when they come to see the 87ers. He also impressed upon the fans the commitment both he and the 76ers had to Delaware, saying that they are proud to be here and to be a part of Delaware’s business community.
The team’s president, Aaron Moszer, said the 87ers are currently working on laying the groundwork for what he called a robust series of events that will help better the community. He said he hopes that Delaware will invest in this team, both in their ups and their downs, their wins and their losses.
Moszer hopes that 87ers games will become a family entertainment destination: “This is great basketball that is close to home and affordable. We hope that it will be great entertainment.”
To learn more about the 87ers upcoming inaugural season visit their website, www.sevens.com.