Hours after being released from prison Tuesday, rapper Meek Mill made an emotional appearance at the 76ers playoff game. Mill, born and raised in Philadelphia, had the support of the organization and in particular one of its owners, Michael* Rubin, in his high-profile legal battle against a controversial sentence of two to four years in prison for a 2017 probation violation stemming from a 10-year-old conviction. Mill, whose legal name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, served nearly five months of that sentence, before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered the 30-year-old rapper’s immediate release on bail Tuesday.
After leaving jail, Mill, who was a frequent presence at Sixers games before his imprisonment, was helicoptered to Tuesday night’s game 5 of the Sixers v. Miami Heat series.
Mill’s probation violation stemmed from a 2008 drug and gun conviction for which he served eight months in jail and was then put on probation for five years, which was extended several times. Meek has maintained his innocence of the original charge and looks set to get a retrial after the officer most involved in the case has since being found to be deeply corrupt in dozens of cases by an internal police review. The years-long sentencing for a parole violation outraged criminal justice reform activists as a miscarriage of justice and an example of the unfairness of a criminal justice system stacked against black men.
Correction, April 24, 2018: This post originally misidentified the Sixers co-owner as Mitch Rubin; Rubin ‘s first name is Michael.