Sadie Smith wanted to combine her love of music and hoops. In doing so, she has become a local internet sensation.
A 15-year-old sophomore at Hammonton High (Atlantic County), Smith decided after the 76ers’ opening preseason win over the Boston Celtics on Dec. 15 to play the team’s theme song, “Here They Come” on the piano and send it out on social media. There is no singing; it’s all instrumental.
“I wanted to combine my appreciation for the Sixers and music into one thing and decided to post it on Twitter,” she said in a phone interview.
Smith, who’s now known in basketball circles as ‘Sixers Sadie’ or “Sixers Piano Girl,’ said she has been overwhelmed by the response.
She had about 40 Twitter followers before this happened and now has more than 8,000. Smith was discovered by a member of the Sixers social media team, who contacted her.
“Our incredibly active and creative fan base alerted us to @SixersSadie or ‘Sixers Piano Girl’ and we were blown away by Sadie’s incredible performance on Twitter,” said Sean Spencer, Sixers Director, Content Strategy, Content and Digital Media. “We reached out to her and asked her to perform for our ‘Sixers Win’ tweet after our victory against the Orlando Magic on New Year’s Eve.”
Smith also appeared on the Sixers’ pregame livestream show on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
“I never thought it would become so big,” she said. “When I posted the first video, I thought I would get 10-15 likes, and it took off from there.”
The post following the Sixers’ 116-92 win on New Year’s Eve at Orlando has had more than 169,000 views. One of the people who retweeted the video was Sixers president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey.
“When he followed my account, I was shocked,” she said.
Morey expressed his sentiments in an email response to The Inquirer.
“I love passionate and talented fans like Sixers Sadie,” Morey said. “As Seth Meyers would say, she is also ‘the kind of story we need right now.’ And I just can’t get enough of that song!”
Smith, who has been playing the piano for six years, has been to three Sixers games in her life and is looking forward to the fourth visit. When the Sixers are allowed to have fans return to the game, Smith has been invited to play the song at halftime.
Until then, with the way the Sixers are playing, it appears as if Smith will have many more postgame performances this season.