Brooklyn Nets Embrace the Fans at ‘Practice in the Park’Just days from the team's season opener, thousands show up to see the players up close and snag some T shirts
Would you travel all the way from the Bronx to Brooklyn for a block party? Demetria Collins, Quandell Swanson and their nine-year-old son did this weekend, and they were not disappointed. “I think it’s a wonderful thing that they have this. It’s good for the children,” said Collins as they watched their son playing basketball with other kids on Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The event, of course, had a lot more going on than the typical Brooklyn block party. It was “Practice in the Park,” the second-annual, free-admission, open-to-the-public event hosted by the Brooklyn Nets, starring the entire team and its dancers, acrobats, DJ, and team apparel. The event drew more than 4,000 fans, according to a Nets spokesperson.
While many fans might normally only see the stars from the high-altitude seats, here everyone was on ground level, creating a community vibe. “Playing in Brooklyn, being a New Yorker, I embrace it to the max. It’s great seeing you all out here,” head coach Kenny Atkinson told the crowd.
Unlike the intensity of a game atmosphere, the open practice was more relaxed, consisting of drills, light-hearted shooting games like Knockout, and warm-up exercises. “Stretching is serious. Especially at a young age, guys don’t take it seriously,” star point guard D’Angelo Russell earnestly told the crowd.
The team opens its regular season Oct. 17 against the Pistons in Detroit, with a home opener Oct. 19 vs. the Knicks and hopes for an ascendant season as the team rebuilds. “Big wins could be on the horizon in Brooklyn,” declared Sports Illustrated last month. Scenes from a day with the team: