BROOKLYN — Upon their official return after nearly seven months off their home court, the Brooklyn Nets honored community workers with a token often given to franchise legends.
The team raised a banner to the Barclays Center rafters thanking essential workers for their service to the city during the coronavirus pandemic.
Several healthcare workers are also in attendance at the Nets’ home and season opener against the Golden State Warriors.
“I called my nephews and said ‘guess who’s here?’,” said Shawna Townsend, hospital patient care director. “They were excited.”
Townsend was one of 62 essential workers nominated by their place of work to attend the game.
Basketball was the last thing on her mind until she received an e-mail last week.
“Very surprised, I was excited,” she said. “I think it was a great offer and I think its recognition that my employer thought of me as the one to represent them as an essential worker.”
Throughout the game, numerous videos were also shown on the big screen thanking essential workers for their sacrifices.
“I think it’s an amazing tribute to all of the people that have sacrificed countless hours, nights and days serving their community,” said Elizabeth Johnson from Hospital for Special Surgery
The game wasn’t just a tribute. It was an opportunity for these heroes to relax and escape for a bit.
“Just having the opportunity to enjoy something in a time in a year that’s been tiring,” said Johnson. “Just a nice opportunity to get out.”
Games at the Barclays Center will be closed to the general public until further notice.