City to give away 9,000 Nets tickets to municipal employees in December

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets fans during game two against the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Thousands of city employees will be eligible to watch Brooklyn’s ball team play this month, as municipal workers will be eligible for free tickets to watch the Nets play at Barclays Center.

The city is honoring its workforce by distributing 9,000 tickets to interested employees for three upcoming home games at the Barclays Center: the Dec. 14 game against the Toronto Raptors, the Dec. 18 game against the Orlando Magic, and the Dec. 21 game against the Washington Wizards.

“City employees serve New Yorkers every day, building a recovery for all and ensuring New York City remains the fairest and safest big city in the world,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “The City Employee Appreciation game nights are a slam dunk and I’m grateful to the Brooklyn Nets for their partnership to honor our City workers.”

Any city employee is eligible for tickets, with one caveat: they must be able to show proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, in keeping with the city’s mandate for indoor entertainment venues like the Barclays Center. Eligible employees will receive an email with a link to express which games they’d want to go to.

“We are incredibly thankful to the city employees of New York who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic – and continue to do so – and we are proud to partner with Mayor de Blasio’s office to host this group at Barclays Center,” said Nets CEO John Abbamondi. “This initiative is part of our continued efforts to be the team for hardworking New Yorkers by ensuring that our games are accessible to everyone. Additionally, during a time when bringing large groups together safely in-person can be challenging, Barclays Center events can serve as a way for people to gather and enjoy the holidays or celebrate other special moments in a vaccinated environment.”

The Nets also honored essential workers last year, including frontline city employees, health care workers, and food service workers. The Nets were also an early large organization to embrace a vaccine mandate in the city.

The team is sitting on a 15-6 record, the best in the eastern conference, thanks to the contributions of superstars Kevin Durant and James Harden. Their stellar performance comes even amidst the continuing dearth of Kyrie Irving, who was sidelined at the beginning of the season for refusing to get vaccinated. Irving is “nowhere closer to getting the vaccine” as of Thursday, according to NBA insider extraordinaire Shams Charania, and the team is now considering trading the seven-time all-star.

Not everyone at the Barclays Center on City Employee Appreciation night will be vaxxed, however. The unvaxxed Wizards star Bradley Beal will take the court against the Nets at Barclays on Dec. 21, as the city’s mandate for indoor entertainment excludes out-of-town performers only briefly traveling through the city.