Last Saturday night, the Philadelphia 76ers lost at home to the Golden State Warriors, but one fan still found a way to send the Philadelphia crowd home happy: 17-year-old Mike Shelly, who hit a half-court shot during a television timeout to win Chick-fil-A for every fan in attendance.
While his shot was undoubtedly incredible, it became all the more heartwarming when fans learned the details of Shelly’s story.
Shelly was 14 years old when he was diagnosed with stage IV Burkitt lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Now 17, he was declared cancer-free just over a year ago.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck Shelly and his family again in August, when his brother Andrew, died in a car accident. To celebrate Andrew’s life and love of the team, Shelly and his father have been attending more games this season.
Shelly’s selection as the fateful halftime shooter on Saturday night had been a coincidence, but once the Sixers heard about his backstory, the team snapped into action to embrace the young man.
To start, Shelly was asked to ring the ceremonial pre-game bell ahead of Monday night’s game against the Utah Jazz. His seats were also upgraded to courtside for the game. When he arrived at the arena, Shelly was surprised with a jersey from the team, presented to him by first overall pick Markelle Fultz.