The Brooklyn Nets held their Thanksgiving event on Monday in the heart of Bedford Stuyvesant. Sponsored by Key Food, the local supermarket chain, along with the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, the annual occasion was part of the part of the Brooklyn Nets Assist Program, which puts a focus on education, athletics, health and wellness and community. Of all the major American team sports, it is the NBA that puts the highest priority on community development and this event began the NBA Cares Season of giving, which goes for the entire holiday season.
Around two o’clock, it was Brett Yormark, the Barclays Center CEO who walked into the Bedstuy Campaign Against Hunger Headquarters. Yormark is no stranger to helping out in the community since it was just last week that he helped orchestrate a youth hockey clinic in Sunset Park, where he brought out New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy to teach the game to youngsters. This time though, Yormark came with a whole team of ballplayers.
Just after the CEO’s arrival, three luxury mini-buses pulled into the adjacent parking lot and out came the entire Brooklyn Nets roster. The players all seemed to be in good spirits since they were riding with some momentum after Sunday nights’ big win against the Boston Celtics at the Barclays Center. After hearing some cheers from the crowd, the Nets took their upbeat attitude inside to get ready to help out.
Braving the frigid conditions outside, there were literally hundreds of people congregating across Fulton Street. As they were waiting to get in line many of the locals seemed extremely grateful that they would receive the holiday essentials that they were promised. There were also some that showed up just to gaze at the star power right in front of their eyes. “Look at how big they are mom!” exclaimed one kid who was hanging outside of the event with his mother.
Of all the Brooklyn Nets, nobody showed as much personality as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Maybe the most exciting player to watch on the team, he was involved in the event from start to finish. By multi-tasking, he was able to help carry out big bags of food for the locals and he was constantly interacting with fans, by cracking jokes and taking selfies for those that asked.
The Nets will get ready to hit the road for this holiday week, with games against certified playoff contenders in Oklahoma City and Cleveland. After a slow start to the season, they are now riding a hot hand coming off of a big win in the division, which is still wide open. For a holiday that was built on gratitude, the Nets expressed a lot of it on Monday, giving back to a community who has stood by them since they arrived in Kings County in 2012. And for the folks that came out to get the helping hand that they needed, when they sit down on Thursday to eat their turkey, they will be thanking the Brooklyn Nets for helping make their holiday dinner happen.