76ers' Norvel Pelle Looks Forward to Making up for a Lack of Fans in Orlando
When the Philadelphia 76ers restart the 2019-2020 NBA season, they won't have a crowd cheering for or against them. As the COVID-19 pandemic still affects the country at large, the NBA had no choice but to prohibit fans from attending games for the rest of the season.
To players, games will feel like practices and scrimmages, as there aren't tens of thousands of fans in the stands cheering. Without fans, the 76ers will have to look for an alternative way to acquire energy. And a few players mentioned the guys on the bench could help contribute in a big way.
Throughout the week, several Sixers made it clear that Kyle O'Quinn will play a critical role in helping motivate his teammates from the bench throughout the bubble city matchups. And Sixers' reserve center Norvel Pelle looks forward to taking on that role as well.
"There's not going to be any fans, so we are the energy," Pelle said on Wednesday morning. "The bench is going to have to be at an all-time high, and I'll do my part for sure." Pelle knows his on-court role will be extremely limited as the team is as healthy as ever for the time being -- but that won't kill his energy.
"There's going to be nobody in there but us," Pelle mentioned. "I'm going to be that number one cheerleader for everybody -- just trying to bring smiles and bring the energy." Throughout the 2019-2020 season, the Sixers thrived off of crowd energy as they established themselves as the number one home team in the league.
Down in Orlando, however, they won't have that same luxury. Now Pelle is hoping to lead and bring the good spirits coming from the bench alongside Kyle O'Quinn, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, and Shake Milton. "Everybody [on the bench] brings their own energy in a different matter," Pelle explained. "I'm a little out there doing the guitaring and all the extra stuff and whatnot -- it's just to bring smiles and laughs to people."
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_