The Philadelphia 76ers rolled out the rainbow carpet for the LGBTQ community as the team hosted the Brooklyn Nets Thursday night. The Wells Fargo Center had rainbow flags throughout the arena in recognition of the community, as a statement of inclusion and support.
Before the game the 76ers hosted a VIP networking reception for local LGBTQ leaders, which included Jason Collins, as well as Rep. Brian Sims, the state legislator and former college football captain who came out publicly on Outsports in 2009. Collins played for the visiting Nets in his final season in the league.
One of the honorees during the game was William Way Center volunteer Elizabeth Coffey Williams, who received the New Era Tip of the Cap recognition. The William Way Center is essentially the local LGBTQ Center. Also, Camden Charter School senior and basketball team member Jessica Rodriguez participated in the Captain’s Huddle. Rodriguez, who is LGBTQ, is on pace to become Camden’s first female 1,000-point scorer this season.
“Thursday’s Pride Night, presented by GIANT, will be the Philadelphia 76ers’ biggest in-game celebration of the LGBTQ community to-date,” said Lee Cary, Philadelphia 76ers Social Responsibility Manager, who shared his story publicly on Outsports last autumn. “As an openly gay man in sports, it has been an incredibly meaningful experience to develop our Pride Platform into what it is. We are committed to harnessing the power of sports to provide opportunities that build bonds and strengthen our LGBTQ community.”
Fans who attended Pride Night and purchased tickets through a special offer received a Pride bandana, and the first 5,000 fans in attendance received a Pride rally towel.
Outsports Pride will take place in Philadelphia this June, in conjunction with Philly Pride. Details will be released in early March.