PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 76ers may have hosted the Golden State Warriors, but a 6-year-old cancer survivor was real the star in South Philadelphia Saturday night.
Hanging court side at the 76ers game, was a special guest of forward Robert Covington.
“He is such a strong kid, mom and them kind of told me what they experienced with him and it touched me very much,” Covington said.
For 18 months, 6-year-old Giovanni Toribini from West Chester, New York battled stage three Anaplastic large-cell Lymphoma, and he just went into remission.
So for Giovanni’s birthday, Covington nominated his young friend, who also happens to be a huge 76ers fan, to be the 76ers “Strong Kid of the Game.”
“Thank you, Rob,” Giovanni said while being presented a team jersey with his name on it.
“I’ve got to know Gio a lot over the past year and like I said he is such a strong kid, and to go through all that and to still have such a high spirit, like its amazing,” Covington said.
As Giovanni was battling cancer last year, he had this chance encounter with Robert after a game.
“It was one of those, types kind of bonds you just feel something off jump,” Covington said.
The two have built a special relationship.
“I FaceTime him,” Giovanni said.
They talk twice a week, to encourage each other.
“I look at him as such a strong person that it makes me keep going,” Covington said.
This is the first time they are seeing each other again in person.
Robert wanted to make sure Gio got a VIP treatment, and a little boost to continue staying strong and cancer free.
“It means a lot, Gio is super into sports,” said Giovanni’s mother Lauren. “He loves Rob, more than anything. They have a special relationship. So to be able to do this for his birthday this year. It was very special to him.”
Lauren says Saturday night’s game was extra special for her son because his second favorite player is Golden State’s Steph Curry.