Two of Philadelphia’s newest star athletes met up Sunday in South Philly when Philadelphia Union midfielder Marco Fabián attended the Sixers game against the LA Lakers and swapped jerseys with Tobias Harris.
Fabián finalized a contract to become the highest paid player in Union franchise history on Friday to put an exclamation point on an already news-heavy week in Philadelphia sports.
Tobias Harris arrived in Philadelphia a couple days before Fabián in a multi-player trade with the LA Clippers. Not to be outdone, the Phillies also acquired All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto in a trade with the Miami Marlins.
It's great to be here! Thanks @Sixers for the hospitality and the fun. I'm already falling in love with Philadelphia and the @PhilaUnion season hasn't even started! #HereTheyCome #ThisIsPhilly ⚽ pic.twitter.com/BmMxpLPvRj— Marco Fabián (@MarcoFabian_10) February 10, 2019
The 29-year-old Mexican international midfielder’s presence at a Sixers game was especially fitting given a letter he wrote to Union fans about his arrival that was posted on the team’s website.
“I have always liked challenges and today I walk towards another,” Fabián wrote. “MLS is a league that has not only developed well in the past years, but the teams of this league have made the sport just as professional as the NFL, MLB or NBA.”
While it may be premature to talk about a title run for the Union the way Sixers fans are about their squad with the addition of Harris to a lineup that already included the likes of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick, the addition of the highest paid player in franchise history has shifted the narrative.
“I want for Philadelphia to have a champion in soccer,” Fabián wrote.
The Union have a long way to go to the level the Sixers are now on after years of “trust the process” tanking but Fabián’s signing based on his talent alone instantly moved the Union from repeating last year’s sixth place finish territory to part of the conversation for a top four finish.
Off the field, he’s expected to draw more fans to Chester — particularly from Mexican and Latino communities around the region — and capture additional media attention, which he achieved on Sunday by attending the hottest sporting event going in the city. Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Carson Wentz, M. Night Shyamalan, Mike Trout and Bob Kraft were all also in attendance at the Wells Fargo Center.