The NBA brought out all the big guns Monday afternoon. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was there, as was New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Also on hand was Knicks head coach Derek Fisher, Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko, Knicks big man Cole Aldrich, Orlando Magic guard Willie Green, and on her first day on the job officially players union Executive Director Michele Roberts.
All of them came to the Midland Beach area of Staten Island — an area ravaged by Hurricane Sandy — to open the playground there (and the coaches and players ran an NBA FIT basketball clinic for more than 150 students).
Adam Silver made headlines for other things said while at the event, but he was there for a very good cause — to tip-off for the season long, All-Star Game tied effort from the NBA family to reach out to youth in the greater New York area, something that should reach more than 100,000 students in the area.
“New York City is a mecca for basketball and this season’s NBA All-Star Game is the perfect opportunity to give back to the city that has meant so much to the game,” said Silver. “Beginning today and throughout the season, we will celebrate the game by bringing to the youth of New York, across all five boroughs, community-based programs that focus on basketball, fitness, nutrition and healthy living.”
“New York City has a unique and richly deserved connection with the game of basketball and the city has been the home and headquarters of the NBPA for almost fifty years,” according to Roberts. “On behalf of all of our players, we are delighted to contribute to the annual celebration of the game during NBA All-Star 2015. NBA players take special pride in using the game that they love to assist many of the diverse communities that help make New York the extraordinary city that it is.”
Every year, wherever the NBA All-Star Game is hosted, the league comes in with a number of programs through NBA Cares to reach out to that community, to help youth in that city.
With this year’s All-Star Game coming New York (Friday and Saturday events in Brooklyn, the main game Sunday at Madison Square Garden in Brooklyn), you knew things were going to be bigger. Not so coincidentally the league office and players union offices are there.
There will be community programs all over the city, three school cafeteria makeovers, and a host of other steps in the coming months.
The NBA All-Star Game can seem all about the glamour, the parties, and who made it to the big game. But it is much more than that, something that started to roll out Monday.