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Two Philadelphia High School Athletes To Be Honored At Sixers Game

by Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Two students from a North Philadelphia high school will be honored during halftime at Friday's Sixers game.

The young ladies have overcome life's challenges in a non-traditional way.

Nadirah "Slim" McRae, and Nadirah "Na" El-Amin Gateward have more in common than just their names.

"When I just started playing, it just felt familiar to me," said McRea.

"I like running up and down the field until I get tired," said Gateward.

Both girls are star players on the field hockey and lacrosse teams at Strawberry Mansion High School.

But it's not their status on the field, but the personal challenges the field helped them overcome that makes these ladies stand out.

"I didn't eat for a while, I was losing weight," said Gateward.

Na's mother died of cancer; the grief left her suicidal.

Slim's mother has struggles with severe lupus.

"My mom felt she didn't have nobody," said McRae.

But playing on the field brought brighter days.

"I just remember the first day meeting them, and just the first practice," said Coach Jazmine Smith.

Smith and her Eyekonz Sports crew started the Mansion team with 28 girls last year.

This White House Champion of Change teaches them sports, as well as life lessons.

She even drove the girls to games when no buses were provided. Now they're catching the eye of recruiters in sports out of reach to most girls of color.

"I want our girls to have the same opportunity, regardless of demographic," Smith said.

And on Friday, like Eyekonz girls before them, they'll get kudos from the Sixers at halftime for their triumphs.

"It's overwhelming because I never expected anything like this to happen to me," said McRae.

An opportunity created on the field.

"It's really exciting, it's new, something we haven't had before," she continued.

Next up, college. Then the world.

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