Saluting our troops with some hoops.
Though the Brooklyn Nets were mired in a four game losing streak entering practice Tuesday, November 18, off the court they were winners. The team showed their appreciation for the country’s service members by visiting U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hamilton as part of NBA Cares Hoops for Troops.
For the second consecutive year, the Nets held a full practice in front of troops in the base’s gymnasium, as well as mingling with them afterwards.
Players were happy to show military personnel a fun distraction from their typical days. “This is my second year in a row doing it out here at Fort Hamilton and it’s always a pleasure. I’m sure they get a kick out of watching us mind-numbingly run plays for hours,” joked Nets center Brook Lopez. “Then afterwards, it’s always great to hang out with them, talk to them a little bit and sign some autographs.”
Shooting guard Joe Johnson, last season’s lone NBA All-Star representative for the Nets, also expressed his gratitude after the grueling practice. “It’s a small token of appreciation for us players to be able to come out and mix and mingle, and have fun with the troops because of all the hard work they’ve put forth for us to live safe lives. We really appreciate them.”
Likewise, troops were excited to see NBA players on their home court. “We’re really honored to have the team spend a little bit of time with the troops,” said Chief Petty Officer Dominique Reboya. “It’s a team effort between the military as well as the Brooklyn Nets, this great organization, and having that team camaraderie concept between them and the military.”
Reboya also mentioned the similarity between the basketball team and soldiers. “It’s a lot like the work ethic that we have at the military,” he said. “The teamwork and constant pursuit of excellence is what they showed and that’s we do as well.”
“It’s a good learning tool for them and it’s also a highlight of the day. It’s great for our service members to feel connected to the local team,” said Colonel Joe Davidson, the base commander. “We do appreciate that the players feel likewise for us. We’re in an interesting time in our nation where our service members are valued. That wasn’t always the case and we are very fortunate.”
After the practice, select players along with 20 veterans served an early Thanksgiving meal to 100 people through the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger.
“It’s a privilege for us to come in here and do this,” added 15 time All-Star forward Kevin Garnett.