- Associated Press - Saturday, January 21, 2017

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.

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.

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 .

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