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 eveningâ€™s Brooklyn Nets game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The thing is, they werenâ€™t basketball players.
Ryan Harrison and Evgeny Donskoy, who are competing at this weekâ€™s inaugural New York Open, made many cheering fans happy by throwing and hitting tennis balls into the crowd during the tournamentâ€™s playersâ€™ party, which was held at the game.
â€œIt was really cool to get out there and have a little bit of cross-sport promotional stuff,â€ said Harrison, who won the event last year when it was held in Memphis. â€œMost of us who play tennis play other sports and itâ€™s really cool to be able to see a great venue like this.â€
It wasnâ€™t a typical playersâ€™ party, thatâ€™s for sure. Many of the tournamentâ€™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 â€” the best seats in the house.
â€œWhen 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, itâ€™s cool to see,â€ Harrison said. â€œItâ€™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 itâ€™s cool to see the product.â€
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 teamâ€™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.
â€œItâ€™s unbelievable. Itâ€™s a great experience. It feels very good,â€ Donskoy said. â€œIt was very nice. I like it.â€
You can say that Tournament Director Josh Ripple aced his choice for the playersâ€™ party, with everyone heading back to Long Island happy.
â€œGuys absolutely love the opportunity to see other amazing athletes perform,â€ Ripple said. â€œItâ€™s a no-brainer to have a playersâ€™ party at a place like this.â€