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Trust the Pawcess: 76ers raise the cat in victory

January 22, 2017 GMT
Philadelphia 76ers' T.J. McConnell, top, celebrates with Robert Covington after the 76ers' won an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 93-92. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Philadelphia 76ers' T.J. McConnell, top, celebrates with Robert Covington after the 76ers' won an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 93-92. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Philadelphia 76ers' T.J. McConnell, top, celebrates with Robert Covington after the 76ers' won an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 93-92. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Philadelphia 76ers' T.J. McConnell, top, celebrates with Robert Covington after the 76ers' won an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 93-92. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Philadelphia 76ers' T.J. McConnell, top, celebrates with Robert Covington after the 76ers' won an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 93-92. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Trust the Pawcess?

Ben Simmons was the No. 1 pick of the NBA draft litter and he may have inadvertently triggered the latest social media craze in sports: Philadelphia 76ers fans that hoist cats in a victory celebration.

Yup, #RaiseTheCat.

Simmons, who has not played this season as he recovers from a broken foot, had posted photos of himself with his cat named Bagheera on Snapchat and other social media outlets.

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At least one fan thought a purr-fect way to honor Simmons and the surging Sixers was to raise his cat over his head if the team won. Dennis Grove, a Sixers fan with an @gippergrove Twitter handle, was first and tweeted, ”The @Sixers WIN! #RaiseTheCat,” after a Jan. 13 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Simmons tweeted Saturday , “Someone tell me how raise the cat started.” About an hour later, Simmons posted a black-and-white photo of himself holding two cats raised to the sky with #raisethecat and earned more than 3,500 likes on Twitter.

Well, as the forlorn Sixers have clawed their way back to respectability, Sixers fans have caught cat # fever and routinely post photos of themselves hoisting cats in a four-legged celebration. The Sixers are feline fine; they’ve won three straight and eight of their last 10 entering Saturday night.

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Grove’s Twitter bio reads, “founder of #RaiseTheCat,” and includes a link to a shirt for sale with that motto and says all profits will go to PhillyPAWS. The Philadelphia-based Morris Animal Refuge has used the hashtag in photos to promote cats available for adoption .