Longtime fans of the 76ers often recall the team's 1999 first round playoff series victory over the Orlando Magic as one of their fondest memories of the Sixers. Marc Zumoff's voice rang with excitement when he explained the First Union Center's electricity during the Sixers' home games that series in his Q+A on LB back in January. A young Allen Iverson had guided the club back to the postseason, what wasn't to love about the occasion?
That 1998-99 campaign was Harvey Grant's final season in the NBA. He averaged 3.1 points and 2.3 rebounds in 17 minutes per game during his 47 appearances that year for Philly. Looking back, he says he simply enjoyed the Sixers' ride in the twilight of his career. While his career progressed in the shadow of his twin brother and four-time NBA champion, Horace Grant, Harvey could ball, too. He was once the face of the Washington Bullets, averaging about 18 and 7 for D.C.'s team for three-straight seasons.
Fifteen years after Harvey retired, the Sixers selected his son Jerami Grant in the second round in the 2014 NBA Draft, 39th overall. Coincidentally, the Bullets drafted Harvey with the 1988 first round pick the Sixers traded to Washington in the Moses Malone deal of 1986.
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"It just shows how everything comes full circle," Harvey told Liberty Ballers. "My last year was with the Sixers and I made some good friends up there. Now, some of the guys who were there when I was there, now they get a chance to interact with my son."
Harvey says his fondness for the organization is the catalyst behind the picture of a young Jerami that surfaced on Twitter recently. The adorable shot of the former Syracuse forward draped in his father's Sixers jersey and wearing Harvey's sneakers like clown shoes.
"I was the happiest father in the world. It feels good to see your son get drafted, when you think about all the hard work he's put in," Harvey says of Draft night. "All those guys when I was there, they took care of me. And now they're taking care of him."
Jerami's seen 15.7 minutes per game over the Sixers' three contests. Yes, Sam Hinkie and company revealed their faith in his potential on Draft night, but Jerami is still a raw rookie fighting for what will likely be a four-year, non-guaranteed minimum contract.
He looked lost on the Summer League court during the Sixers' first two games. He combined to shoot 1-5 from the field and tallied more fouls than rebounds.
"I told him just get better every game. The first game he was trying to find himself, second game he got a little bit better and the third game, just do something better," Harvey said. "I think right now he's just trying to adjust to the speed of the game, trying to adjust to playing man-to-man defense because at Syracuse they play that zone."
The third game, the Sixers' convincing win over the Rockets Tuesday, served as somewhat of a coming out party for Jerami. He scored 12 points on 4-9 shooting with 6 rebounds -- he even knocked down a three.
"I'm just getting a little bit more comfortable. First two games I felt like I was still getting adjusted, this game I felt a lot more comfortable and I was able to do the things that I normally do," Jerami said after the win. "[The coaches] are excited I'm progressing each game."
At 6-8, 210 pounds, he's a little too big to play on the wing and a hair too small to bang inside in the paint. Assistant coach Lloyd Pierce says the team will attempt to develop Jerami into a 3 and both Grant's view that will be a step in the right direction.
"I think he'll be a 3. He can guard 1s, 2s, and 3s and sometimes 4s," Harvey said. "Right now he's playing the 4, but it's going to happen down the line."
Adds Jerami: "I think right now I'm a 3 because that's what my size is. I think I could play either one, depending on whether the team goes small like today, I could play the four. But if the team is a normal-sized team, I'll probably play the 3. I think I could play either position, it doesn't really matter to me."
All that matters is Jerami continuing to bring constant energy to the floor. There's no reason why he can't be the third Grant to have a lengthy, successful NBA career if he brings a relentless motor.
"When he crashes and plays like that, you’ll see the athleticism start to come out," Pierce said. "He hadn’t scored much since we’d been here, it's great for him to see a jumper go down. That’s encouraging. We just ask them to be themselves."