The Brooklyn Nets will celebrate Black History Month throughout February with special national anthem performances, community initiatives, and in-game recognition of black leaders and heroes.
The celebration will tip off on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Barclays Center, before the Nets vs. Knicks game, with a national anthem performance by the McDonald’s Gospel Super Choir, which holds a Guinness World Record as the largest gospel choir in the world. The Nets will also recognize the Black McDonald’s Operators Association, which was formed in 1972 to help black entrepreneurs own and operate McDonald’s restaurants.
Three leaders will be presented with the Brooklyn Nets Pioneer Award, which recognizes black leaders in Brooklyn who, through resolve and perseverance, have positively impacted their communities. The honorees include: Arva Rice, president and chief executive officer of New York Urban League (NYUL); Rashid Davis, founder & principal of Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH); and Lenair Young, Brooklyn basketball coach and youth advocate.
Rice has served as President and CEO of NYUL since 2009 and continues to further the organization’s mission of providing constituents with first-class education, economic self-reliance, and civil rights protection through programs, services and advocacy.
Davis opened P-TECH High School in 2011, a nontraditional high school with a six-year program that provides students with the opportunity to earn associate’s degrees. Prior to opening P-TECH, Davis served as the principal of Bronx Engineering and Technology Academy. Under his leadership, BETA was ranked No. 143 on Newsweek’s list of 1,500 Top American High Schools.
Young, a basketball coach and mentor from the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, founded an after-school basketball program in 2010 called Drill Masters NYC. The program, recently recognized on The Ellen Show, has since provided a community for countless youth to learn, grow and develop in basketball and in the classroom.
In addition to honoring Brooklyn leaders, the Nets have partnered with the “Because of Them We Can” campaign to recognize black heroes throughout the game, including Muhammed Ali, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey. The campaign, which educates the younger generation about black history and its most influential figures, encourages New York students grades K-12 to share on camera who their hero is and why for a chance to win a school assembly with Brooklyn Nets players. Fans can check out brooklynnets.com for details on how to participate.
Brooklyn Nets Assist is committed to giving back and bettering the lives of those in the surrounding communities. It strives to positively impact the community through various initiatives and programs focusing on four pillars: Education, Athletics, Health & Wellness and Community Development.
About the Brooklyn Nets:
The Brooklyn Nets, presented by SecureWatch24, were officially launched in April 2012 and play their home games at Barclays Center located at the crossroads of Brooklyn, Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.
Prior to its relocation to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Starting in 1977, the Nets played their first four seasons in New Jersey at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway, before moving in 1981 to Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford (later renamed Continental Airlines Arena and IZOD Center). They remained in East Rutherford for 29 seasons until relocating to the Prudential Center in Newark in 2010. The Nets have reached the postseason 19 times, won four Atlantic Division titles and two Eastern Conference Championships, reaching the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. Prior to joining the NBA, the team was a member of the ABA and was called the New York Nets. Playing their home games at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, the Nets won two ABA championships in 1974 and 1976. Opened on February 17, 2016, Hospital for Special Surgery Training Center in Brooklyn’s Industry City is the new training facility of the Nets.
For additional information, please visit Brooklynse.com.