New York Open Aces Players’ Party At Basketball Game
Photo credit Mike Lawrence/NBAE, Article from ATPWorldTour.com
There were two professional athletes who stepped on the court in the second quarter of Saturday evening’s Brooklyn Nets game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The thing is, they weren’t basketball players.
Ryan Harrison and Evgeny Donskoy, who are competing at this week’s inaugural New York Open, made many cheering fans happy by throwing and hitting tennis balls into the crowd during the tournament’s players’ party, which was held at the game.
“It was really cool to get out there and have a little bit of cross-sport promotional stuff,” said Harrison, who won the event last year when it was held in Memphis. “Most of us who play tennis play other sports and it’s really cool to be able to see a great venue like this.”
It wasn’t a typical players’ party, that’s for sure. Many of the tournament’s stars were joined by thousands of others at the arena to cheer on the Nets. The players got to watch the contest from premium suites at midcourt — the best seats in the house.
“When we got here and saw the setup and how incredible the suites are and just the overall convenience of how fun it is to be part of the NBA world for a night, it’s cool to see,” Harrison said. “It’s cool to see different athletes and see what these guys can do on a daily basis. I know they probably have a lot of hard work that goes into doing it and it’s cool to see the product.”
Harrison, who resides in Austin, Texas, is a San Antonio Spurs fans. Donskoy on the other hand said early on in the game that he did not have a favourite team, with his memories of the sport stemming from watching Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls as a kid.
But that would change by the end of the game, as Donskoy was out of his seat screaming in support of the Nets, especially after one of the team’s players knocked down a game-tying shot at the end of the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime. The Nets would eventually lose in double-overtime 138-128.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s a great experience. It feels very good,” Donskoy said. “It was very nice. I like it.”
You can say that Tournament Director Josh Ripple aced his choice for the players’ party, with everyone heading back to Long Island happy.
“Guys absolutely love the opportunity to see other amazing athletes perform,” Ripple said. “It’s a no-brainer to have a players’ party at a place like this.”