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Why Was Jake Paul Allowed to Sit Next to Meek Mill at Last Night’s Sixers Game?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 24: Entertainer Meek Mill stands with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf during halftime between the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center on April 24, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Meek Mill‘s release from prison yesterday was a cause for celebration, and a celebration was what he got, thanks to a lavish helicopter ride from the state penitentiary in Chester to a playoff game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat game, courtesy of Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin. Rubin has visited Meek numerous times in prison, and Meek thanked Rubin directly in his post-release press statement, calling the team owner “my good friend.” While the helicopter ride might smack of a weird PR stunt for the Sixers, Rubin claims he was simply fulfilling the rapper’s own espoused wish: “You know, Meek told me every day we talked, ‘I just dream about the heli picking me up.’ He said, ‘That’s what I want.’” But what seems less likely to have been one of Meek’s express requests for his welcome-home party was the pleasure of being seated next to Jake Paul at the game.

Paul—the noted Disney expat and trap-rapping, scarily mega-famous Aryan vlog demon—would seem more likely to be the next Trump cabinet nominee than someone considered privileged company by Meek Mill. But it’s not a total mystery why Paul, who once got in trouble for rapping the N-word in a song, was by Meek’s side last night: Paul kept his “Jake Paulers” up to speed with the shady circumstances of Meek’s legal history with explainer videos, and also created a $70 “Free Meek” hoodie, with fees to be supposedly donated to Meek and his legal campaign. Paul says in one video that he’s been a huge fan of Meek’s “since he was a kid” (that’s how young he is) and, in fairness, his enthusiasm about the cause seems genuine enough. He’s done some level of good work in semi-competently explaining Meek’s legal drama to his white suburban preteen minions. Whatever else is true, it’s a better use of his resources than his 21 Savage faux-Carpool Karaoke video.

Still, it’s hard to shake that sense that self-promotion and clicks will always come tantamount to whatever earnest enthusiasm Paul has for criminal justice reform and/or Dreamchasers 2. Additionally, Jake Paul has no apparent hometown allegiance with the Sixers, which makes his presence there over almost anyone else who supported Meek’s cause more unclear. Gucci Mane allegedly charged Jake Paul $250k for a verse on a song last year, and I can’t help but hope that Meek got something from Paul for the privilege of giving him more content, too.