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Brooklyn Nets fundraise for youth, community

Aicha Fall for WSN

Brooklyn Nets fans gathered at Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes in Manhattan for the Nets Annual Basketbowl fundraiser. Attendees had the opportunity to share their lanes with almost all of the 2013-2014 Nets players, including Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams.

General admission tickets were $150 this year. Fans had the option of a $5,000 package to reserve a lane or a $10,000 VIP package, which included a lane and private reception with the players before the event. All proceeds went to the Nets Foundation, which supports programs that focus on youth and improving metropolitan communities.

After the pre-reception, the players were introduced as they entered the bowling area. Before beginning their bowling rounds, they signed their jerseys, which were auctioned off on behalf of the Nets Foundation. The silent auction included other sports and celebrity memorabilia such as sneakers, jerseys and basketballs signed by current and retired players and other celebrities. One of the main attractions was a basketball signed by Beyoncé and Jay Z.

Players rotated lanes in order to give all the fans a chance to talk, take photos and receive autographs. The Brooklynettes, the official NBA dance team for the Nets, also posed for photos with fans.

Nets center Andray Blatche was one of the best bowlers on the team, showing off with many strikes, which were followed by a round of his trademark dance moves.

“Its all about giving back,” Blatche said. Blatche also has his own charity foundation outside of the Nets called the Andray Blatche Foundation. Blatche’s foundation aims to help children in his hometown of Syracuse, N.Y.

Some fans were disappointed in the absence of newest addition to the Nets frontcourt Kevin Garnett. However, it was expected because Garnett has missed every game since Feb. 27 due to back problems.

Still, NBA fan Evelyn Martinez said it was exciting to see the players who attended.

“It is nice to come out and see the players give back to the community and to their fans,” Martinez said.

The Nets home winning streak reached 12 as they beat the Cavaliers this past Friday, solidifying their spot as number five in the NBA Eastern Conference standings. Brooklyn fans are in for an incredible season finish and journey into the playoffs.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 31 print edition. Aicha Fall is a contributing writer. Email her at sports@nyunews.com

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Brooklyn Nets fundraise for youth, community