Despite a Suspended Season, Sixers' Norvel Pelle is Still on a High

Justin Grasso

The name Norvel Pelle was most popular among those who pay close attention to the NBA G League. After spending a lot of time with the Sixers' affiliates, the Delaware Blue Coats, Pelle made a name for himself with his often jaw-dropping rim protection as he swatted away at players at a high-percentage.

It wasn't until the 2019 NBA Preseason when Pelle made a name for himself with fans of the Sixers. Before the regular season started, Pelle dominated with his rim protection. Soon after, he would head back down to Delaware to play with the Coats. 

Eventually, though, the Sixers called their two-way center back up as they needed depth at the center position. Pelle made his debut against the New York Knicks back in November, and the journeyman didn't disappoint as he collected two rebounds, three points, and four blocks in 13 minutes of action. 

Then, he didn't see the NBA court until the following month. Had the Sixers centers remained healthy throughout the year, Pelle would've likely remained down in Delaware. However, the opposite happened. 

After the trade deadline, the Sixers wanted to transition Pelle from a two-way signed player to a 27-year-old rookie on an NBA contract. For a player that has traveled around the world going from league to league, landing an NBA contract was a dream come true for Pelle.

And although his rookie season in the NBA hasn't exactly been ideal because of the COVID-19 suspension, Pelle remains in good spirit as he returns to the floor after being forced to take several months off from basketball. "I'm still at a high," Pelle said on Wednesday morning.

"Regardless of everything that's going on," he continued. "I was able to fulfill my dreams of signing a contract to an NBA team and playing for the Sixers -- it's a blessing. My whole career has been a roller coaster, up and down and whatnot. Regardless of what's going on with the whole COVID [pandemic] and [social] injustice [issues], everything right now is alright. I'm still excited about what's going on."

Pelle and the Sixers are set to travel to Orlando, Florida, on Thursday as they gear up to begin training camp 2.0. this summer.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_

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