Nets for the holidays!
Two hundred underprivileged second and third grade students were treated to a holiday party hosted by the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on Mon., Dec. 10.
The kids enjoyed games, arts and crafts, dancing, music, basketball drills and the chance to mingle with the Brooklynettes as well as Nets players, including Jarrett Allen, Ed Davis, Joe Harris, Shabazz Napier, Rodions Kurucs, Dzan Musa, Theo Pinson and Alan Williams.
The youngsters interacted with the players as they played games such as Jenga, air hockey, and of course, basketball.
The day was meaningful for the players that participated.
“It’s awesome,” said Harris, who is currently tied for 11th in the NBA in three point shooting percentage this season. “Obviously any time we get an opportunity to do events like this, we jump at it. It’s fun for us just to come and see the kids. We enjoy it just as much as the kids do. We know they have a good time. It’s really special and we’re lucky to be a part of it. At the end of the day, we play in Brooklyn and we need to be a part of the Brooklyn community, be impactful and involved, and try to do our best to give back.”
Allen, who is in his second year in the NBA and continues to be an integral part of the team’s season, said it was nice to hang out with the excited students.
“Just seeing the smiles on their faces that we can bring to them, nothing beats that,” he said.
He added that the Nets organization is always up to giving back.
“I don’t know what other teams are like but this is what I’m used to,” Allen went on. “I’m used to giving back and the Nets are a perfect example of what I like to do. [The highlight of the afternoon was when] I was drawing with a group of kids from one school and their faces lit up when they knew I was a special guest. I enjoyed it as much as them.”
Kurucs, who is in his rookie season, agreed.
“I really love the kids and like to spend time with them,” he said. “I enjoy seeing them happy, seeing them smile. It means a lot to me because it reminds me of myself when I was a kid. We didn’t have a lot. I know it means a lot to them and gives them motivation to work harder.”
The children’s’ parents were grateful that the Nets organization hosted the event.
“It’s groundbreaking,” said mother Heather Flewellen, whose six-year-old son Cameron was posing for photos with players. “It gives kids opportunities they didn’t ever believe they would have. Just to come out and meet the Nets players is amazing. It’s priceless to me as a mother.”
“It shows that they love the community,” William Wickland said as his son David was all smiles. “It gives the kids encouragement and hope that they can do everything or anything. It doesn’t have to just be about sports. It can be education; that’s what these players are telling them.”
The children were chosen through the Ingersoll Community Center, the Brooklyn Community Services Beach Program at P.S. 11 and Dr. Susan S. McKinney Secondary School of the Arts, the CAMBA after-school program at P.S. 3, and in partnership with the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance: Imagine Me Leadership Charter School, P.S. 11, P.S. 206, and What About the Children, Inc.