Dionte Christmas, the former Temple University basketball star whom the 76ers cut from their roster Wednesday, was arrested in North Philadelphia tonight, police officials told the Daily News.
Christmas was stopped by Highway Patrol Officers Dave Marcellino and Ivan Rosado on Nedro Avenue near Broad Street about 7:30 p.m. for driving erratically in a car with heavily tinted windows, said Highway Patrol Capt. Michael Cochrane.
Things got worse from there.
Christmas was driving without a license, and the officers found a Hi-Point 9mm semiautomatic handgun tucked under the driver's seat, Cochrane said. The weapon was loaded with seven rounds.
Christmas was taken to the 35th District's headquarters, at Broad and Champlost streets in Ogontz, where he was expected to be charged tonight with a felony weapons offense, police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said.
Police later learned that the car Christmas was driving belonged to Sixer forward/center Marreese Speights, Cochrane said. The 9mm apparently also was registered to Speights, he said.
Christmas had a passenger in the car, who was not identified by police or charged with any wrongdoing.
Michael Preston, a spokesman for the 76ers, said the team was aware of the situation but didn't have a comment.
Christmas' agent, Andre Buck, could not be reached for comment, nor could Speights' agent, Andy Miller.
Christmas, a Philadelphia native who starred at Temple after playing at Fels High and Philadelphia Lutheran Christian, was invited to the Sixers' camp after he went undrafted in the June NBA draft. He played in four preseason games, averaging 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 7.5 minutes per outing.
The 6-foot-5 shooting guard impressed the team with his work ethic, but not enough to make the final roster.
In a recent interview, Temple coach Fran Dunphy told the Daily News that Christmas is a "terrific guy."
"His desire is critical to any success I hope he achieves in the NBA," said Dunphy. "He wants to be coached, he wants to learn, he wants to be part of the team. He realizes how much hard work he has to put in to attain his goal and he's willing to do that."