Maurice Jenkins has been a Sixers fan for a long time.
But his young son, Amir, isn't old enough to remember a winning team.
It all makes this moment sweeter.
“We sat through all the bad times watching us lose, feeling like 10-win seasons,” said Jenkins, who brought Amir to the team's last regular-season matchup Thursday. The playoffs begin with the Miami Heat on Saturday.
"Trust the Process" of rebuilding was part slogan, part a plea for fan patience. But with a 52-30 record and 16 consecutive wins heading into the playoffs, the Sixers and their fans are enjoying the payoff.
“This year the energy and excitement has just been amazing,” said Shamora Renee, another longtime supporter of the team.
Renee devoted most of her time during Wednesday’s game to giving free children’s face paintings for fan appreciation night.
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
“Seeing how the team has progressed, it’s just a great time being a 76ers fan,” Renee said.
76ers guard Ben Simmons and center Joel Embiid are in the top 10 in NBA jersey sales this season, with Embiid at sixth place and Simmons at eighth. The team is top in the NBA for attendance growth and for growth in social media engagement.
When asked what role fans have played in the team's success this year, Simmons said, “They have been huge.”
“They been there when the team wasn’t winning, and now obviously here now that we are winning,” Simmons said.
“For them to show support all year, giving us that extra motivation and extra energy on the floor, it’s like another player out there," he said.