Hoops stars mark Veteran’s Day at Fort Hamilton

November 12, 2013 Jaime DeJesus
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As part of NBA Cares Hoops for Troops Veterans Day, members of the Brooklyn Nets visited Fort Hamilton to pay tribute to the true heroes, U.S. troops and military personnel.

While the Nets’ practice facility is normally the PNY Center located in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on November 11, the team arrived around noon for a full practice at the Fort Hamilton Sports Fitness Center. The troops were able to watch from the sidelines to see how the team, which has struggled out of the gate of the young NBA season, prepared for an upcoming three-game west coast trip.

“It’s just an honor to see these guys come out and show their support for what we do, especially today, Veterans Day. It’s nice to see them talking to us. They’re just normal people just like the rest of us,” said Sergeant Nigel Norvell.

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The true honor, however, was for the Nets, who understood the significance of taking time out of their routine to mingle with troops.

All-star center Brook Lopez connected with the event on a personal level. “My grandfather [Bob Ledford] before he died, told us stories all the time about serving ,” Lopez recalled. “To see the dedication [the soldiers] put forth every day and the etiquette they put forth, I think it translates well to the team setting. Honestly, for us the most important thing is for us to come here and sit down with these guys and put faces behind these heroes.”

At the conclusion of the practice, soldiers and Technical Sergeant Derek Bishop presented point guard Deron Williams and the rest of the Nets organization with an American flag that was flown over the World Trade Center site on the 10th anniversary of September 11.

“We felt as a whole, all five branches of the armed forces, that there was no better reason to present one than today because the Nets have shown their appreciation and that’s second to none,” said Sergeant Derek Bishop, who helped organize the event. There are only about 15 flags in existence that flew over Ground Zero on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, with most of them being given to families of those who perished on 9/11.

Later in the afternoon, the players and coaches served a meal to the military personnel in the spirit of Thanksgiving. “For the whole basketball team to come to Fort Hamilton to celebrate Veteran’s Day with veterans, it’s an absolute incredible feeling. I’ve never heard it before and I’ve been in the air force 15 years,” added Bishop.

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