A swish come true: Nets hype up fans with pre-season practice in Bridge Park

for Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

Crowd control: A dancer pumped up the spectators during the festivities.
Eyes on the prize: Current Nets players and alumni attended the free-to-watch practice.
Pumped up: An emcee kept the thousands of fans who showed up cheering throughout the session.
Basketball diaries: Athletes said they had as much fun at the casual practice as spectators did watching it.

It was hoops hoopla!

Thousands of basketball lovers flocked to Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Saturday to watch Brooklyn Nets stars hit the court during an open practice at the green space.

The second-annual event drew more than 4,000 sports fans who came out to watch the athletes perfect their game before their regular season kicks off with an Oct. 17 away match against the Detroit Pistons, followed by an Oct. 19 Barclays Center face-off against their outer-borough rivals, the New York Knicks, according to a team spokeswoman.

And most of the spectators stuck around to celebrate the upcoming season at a post-practice bash that featured grub hawked at food trucks from vendors including Nathan’s Famous, and activities that included a basketball clinic for youngsters, a performance by the team’s dance troupe the Brooklynettes, face painting, and giveaways of free t-shirts, basketballs, and towels, the rep said.

“This year’s block party on the turf of Brooklyn Bridge Park was almost as popular as the practice itself,” said Nets spokeswoman Rachael Lewis.

Bigwigs at the National Basketball Association encourage all member teams to host public practices in their hometowns, according to Lewis, who said Brooklyn Bridge Park’s waterfront facilities are an ideal spot for the Nets to invite local fans to watch them play.

And the athletes enjoyed shooting some hoops in the more casual setting as much as their fans loved watching them on the court, a Nets player said.

“To come out and have a lighter day, and have a lot of enthusiasm and excitement, is awesome,” said Brooklyn shooting guard Joe Harris, who joined the squad in 2016.

Updated 4:53 pm, October 8, 2018
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