Basketball in the Boroughs, an initiative by by the New York Knicks and Chase Bank, tipped-off with a spotlight on Queens.
The Knicks’ game at Madison Square Garden against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, December 9 began with the national anthem sung by recording artist and Queens native Lea Sunshine. Queens residents were featured throughout the evening, with a talent search and honors for volunteers throughout the borough.
After the game, Sunshine Tweeted that she was thrilled to take the Garden floor as a native New Yorker. Her favorite part of the night was a congratulations from Knicks superfan Spike Lee after the ceremony.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Knicks and the city of New York to launch Basketball in the Boroughs,” said Colleen Canny, senior vice president and northeast regional manager for Chase. “It’s a creative way to inspire these young fans right in their own neighborhoods while reinforcing our commitment to the communities we serve throughout New York City.”
Larry Johnson, a popular former Knick and the team’s Basketball and Business Operations Representative, as well as some of the Knicks City Dancers, met with fans at the Chase Bank on Queens Boulevard and 46th Street in Sunnyside on December 3. Later that day, current players Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith met with fans at a Fresh Meadows branch.
The team also hosted a free basketball clinic at the Sorrentino Recreation Center in Far Rockaway on Thursday, December 6, with a second appearance by Johnson and the City Dancers. Other attendees included Knicks training coaches and State Senator Malcolm Smith.
“It was phenomenal,” said Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, chief of Queens recreation at NYC Parks and Recreation.
During the clinic, kids from P.S. 20 did actual NBA drills with coaches and push ups with Johnson. At the end of the day, the kids were given tickets to Sunday night’s game, Rodriguez-Rosa said, and were featured on the big screen as part of the evening’s celebrations.
The program will continue spotlighting Staten Island in January; Brooklyn in February; The Bronx in March; and Manhattan in April.