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The Nets honor Black History Month with series of special games

2021-01-26T002302Z_1102532070_MT1USATODAY15482184_RTRMADP_3_NBA-MIAMI-HEAT-AT-BROOKLYN-NETS-1200×753-2

The Brooklyn Nets are spending February honoring Black History Month and the contributions of African Americans to the borough and the nation with a slate of “United Games.”

Each of the Nets’ five home games throughout the month features a different focus on honoring Black pioneers of different time periods and occupations, said Jackie Wilson, the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer of the Nets’ parent company, BSE Global.

“Brooklyn is such a diverse borough with a rich history of Black pioneers who have helped shape our community into what it is today,” said Wilson. “We hope sharing their stories will inspire our fans to leave their own mark of impact.”

The first home game of February focused on Black pioneers of the past. Figures from the nation and Brooklyn’s past were featured on the Barclays Center’s glass LED’s, while The Group Fire and Benny the Butcher performed at tipoff and halftime, respectively. The team also released a merchandise line designed by TIER, a Brooklyn-based fashion brand, that was only available for sale at the game.

The game on Feb. 14, will honor Black pioneers in healthcare, with both the national anthem and halftime show being performed by Felicia Temple, a New York native and R&B artist that served as an ICU nurse during the pandemic. Thursday’s game, meanwhile, will feature performances from The Jones Boys and Hot 97’s Funkmaster Flex.

On Thursday, Feb. 24, the Nets will highlight Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with a full day of events and entertainment. An HBCU fair and admissions panel will be held at the Barclays Center during the day, and another line of merchandise will be sold exclusively at the game. This line is a collaboration with Legacy History Pride, a company founded by Tahir Murray, a graduate of an HBCU and a New York native. Performances from HBCU alumni Kimani Jackson and a group of historically Black fraternities and sororities will be featured during the game. 

The final celebration of the Nets’ United Games, hosted on Monday, Feb. 28, focuses on the future. Hezekiah Walker, a Grammy-winning gospel artist, will perform both a pregame set and the national anthem. Halftime will feature a social justice inspired performance from the Nets’ own entertainment team.

The Nets celebrate Black culture and promote the same ideals that Black History Month espouses year round, but they want February to be a special month for the team and their fans.  

“Year-round, we aim to celebrate Black culture and elevate Black voices with special entertainment and programming. In February, we look at every Nets’ home games as an opportunity to deepen our commitment to uplifting the Black community,” says Wilson.

While the Nets may be on a torrid streak of performances and in the middle of a season rife with narratives both on and off the court, their celebration of Black History Month and their ongoing support of the Black community in both Brooklyn and the nation at large is something that the organization can and should be proud of.

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