Sixers rookie Nerlens Noel to run Rocky Balboa’s route through Philadelphia


If you map out, in order, the training montage run that Rocky Balboa takes in what can only be called a seminal work of art that is “Rocky II,” it works out to more than 30 miles.

Nerlens Noel isn’t crazy. He’s not running that far. He’s going to put enough miles on his body during the season (top players who play big minutes such as Kevin Durant logged more than 200 miles run during last season, but that’s another topic).

But Noel is going to run some of Rocky’s route and will have middle school students running up the Art Museum steps with him on Friday. All part of plans he has for a future 5K race for Philly residents, something reported by Mike Sielski at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Starting between 1 and 1:30, Noel will run at the various spots around the city that Stallone used in his movies’ iconic training sequences, including the Italian Market, Independence Hall, and Kelly Drive. Noel’s “run” will culminate around 3 p.m. at the Art Museum, where 100 to 150 middle-school and high school students will join him as he sprints up the steps. Then everyone will have Papa John’s pizza, since Papa John’s is one of the event’s sponsors.

Noel’s plan, according to a person close to him, is to use Friday’s event as a springboard for an annual “Nerlens Noel Rocky Run 5K” to raise money for charity. Plus, the run should help Noel get in shape for his first NBA season, so he can eat lightning and crap thunder on any and all of the Sixers’ opponents.

What I really want to see him do is drink down about four raw eggs before he makes the run. Just to be authentic.

I love that Noel is working to do a little PR and build up the Sixers brand in the city. They are going to need it, this is going to be a rough season on the court. By management design.

However, I am picking Noel to win Rookie of the Year.