76ers Dancing Queen Shakes Up SI Swimsuit Issue

Philly sports fans can feel a sense of pride when paging through in the 2009 edition of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue – one of our own adorns the pages.

The lovely Melanie Fitzpatrick took some time off from her busy schedule as a Sixers dancer, swimsuit model and nursing student to sit down with NBCPhiladelphia.com to share her thoughts on being featured in the magazine.

"It's an honor," said Fitzpatrick. "I grew up reading SI... it's very prestigious."

The 24-year-old is trying to not let the whole thing get to her head and has no plans to hang up her dancing shoes for a modeling career?

"I've been dancing since I was three," said the beautiful blonde. "I'm a dancer at heart... [modeling] is all new to me and dancing will always come first."

So how did the dancer get into all this?

The SI people contacted the Sixers and Fitzpatrick to see if she was game for putting aside the dance shoes and donning a swimsuit. This year the magazine focused on the 10 hottest NBA dancers.

The photo shoot was in New York in September, said Fitzpatrick. "I had to keep it a secret from everyone since."

Keeping a secret from her dancing teammates had to be tough for the squad mom (a role that Melanie earned for the simple remedies she offers her girlfriends on the team).

"The girls are like sisters to me... we all catch up before every game," she said.

The first step for Fitzpatrick to becoming an SI swimsuit model was becoming a Sixers' dancer in the first place.

She got her big break while dancing at St. Joe's. During her senior year she tried out for the Sixers Dance team – to her surprise she made the squad.

"Not many people make it on their first try," she said.

Dancing for the Sixers could be the perfect fit for this Folsom, Pa. native who grew up both dancing and playing basketball.

"I had quite the shot," said the former middle school shooting guard.

Fitzpatrick watches a lot of basketball each season and naturally has a favorite player?

"Thaddeus Young... he is an amazing player to watch," she said.

But, let’s get back to the whole swimsuit thing.

So where is Melanie's favorite spot to rock a swimsuit? "South Beach... it's an easy trip and my boyfriend’s parents have a place nearby," she said.

That's right fellows, Melanie is spoken for, but that doesn't mean that you can't get a chance to meet this dancing beauty. She will be doing meet and greets with guys who purchase a “Guy’s Night Out Package” available for some upcoming Sixers games.

And, don’t miss Melanie Friday on NBC 10’s 10! Show at 11 a.m.

Contact Us