Brooklyn Nets visit veterans at Fort Hamilton
Basketball stars coach and referee game
Three Brooklyn Nets stars paid a visit to the Fort Hamilton Army Base in Bay Ridge to coach a referee a basketball game between two groups of veterans in honor of Veterans Day.
Nets players Spencer Dinwiddie, Quincy Acy and Trevor Booker met veterans and coached a friendly recreational scrimmage basketball game on Monday in the Fort Hamilton Sports and Fitness Center.
The Nets stars offered valuable pointers before they were split up into two teams. The first team, sporting white jerseys, was made up of members from the New York National Guard Joint Task Force Empire Shield. The second team of veterans, wearing black jerseys, included members of the NYC Recruiting Battalion.
“Every year around Veterans Day, we like to do something with the base here at Fort Hamilton,” said Michael Wisniewski, Brooklyn Nets senior manager of community relations. “We’re actually at Sunset Park now, which is located just about 10 minutes away from here. We’ve worked with Fort Hamilton for a few years now.”
This year’s event was different, however, because the veterans were involved in the game as the Nets players coached. The basketball stars also invited 26 veterans to attend a Nets game on Tuesday in a suite, and gave out an additional 50 tickets to the veterans as well.
“In years past, we’ve come here for a full team practice where the entire roster was here practicing with the veterans,” said Wisniewski. “This is the first year we’re having the veterans, the men and women, actually play the game. We’re working with them and showing the vets and the military men and women that they’re the heroes too. The players are always looked upon as the superstars and role models, but the veterans and the military men and women are actually the heroes and superstars in real life.”
The Nets have been partnering with Fort Hamilton ever since they moved here according to Bob Vogt, director of family morale, welfare and recreation at Fort Hamilton. “It’s great to have the partnership with Fort Hamilton, which is probably over seven years strong,” said Vogt.
“Each year we try to do something different and new. So we not only want to make it a Veterans Day initiative, we want to make it a full-year program — a full-year recognition. So that’s something we’re going to do, expand it beyond Veterans Day.”
Vogt credited the Nets with initiating the collaboration. “We’re here today because the Nets contacted us and asked us if we would do something to support Veteran’s Day.”
According to Bruce Hill, media relations officer at Fort Hamilton, the players also have visited the base for Thanksgiving.
“The Nets have held their practices here at our gym and they’ve served Thanksgiving dinner to the veterans, service members and their families.
This time they came to coach two military teams,” said Hill.
“The game was really exciting. It was on the level of an NBA championship game. It was a real nail-biter, where the NYC Recruiting Battalion won by only one point.”
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