Nets Open Practice at Barclays Center

Sunday at Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets threw open the doors for their annual Open Practice, giving the community an opportunity to visit the arena and get an introduction to this year’s team.

“I thought it was great,” said Nets assistant general manager Bobby Marks. “I think it’s good to give back to the community, to give back to Brooklyn and have a free, open practice and have the people come out and see the hard work our guys have been doing. I thought it was a real positive experience. It’s amazing how much people have taken to the color, the Nets logo, the players themselves, the arena.”

Fans walked in to the end of a team practice on the main court, with the Nets running through a 5-on-5 scrimmage and a few shooting drills. When the event began, Coach Avery Johnson addressed the crowd, opening with “Hello, Brooklyn” before thanking the fans for attending and promising a great season.

The team ran through introductions, offered in full game fashion by Voice of the Nets David Diamante, before partaking in several shooting contests. Rookie forward Toko Shengelia notably capped two with long distance shots, one from halfcourt. Rebounding specialist Reggie Evans nailed five in a row during a team-wide competition, and sophomore guard MarShon Brooks beat Deron Williams in a race “around the world.”

Two witnesses were Carroll Gardens residents Steve Chung and his girlfriend Sarah Tay, who made their first visit to Barclays Center. Both were impressed by the arena design, which Chung said reminded him of the “Bird’s Nest” (Beijing National Stadium) in China, and provided a unique, welcoming experience as they passed under the exterior oculus with the scoreboard in sight.

But Chung was most enthusiastic about the dining options, which had him hoping they’d open the arena just for foodies to get their fill.

“They have some of the best Brooklyn vendors for food,” Chung said. “They’ve got L&B Spumoni Gardens; I regularly travel there – all the way to Coney Island – just to get a slice of pizza. Now you can get it here. I think the burgers have Pat LaFrieda meat, which is amazing. And then they’ve got a bunch of others, like Blue Marble. I probably sound like a shill right now, but it’s true! I actually love all of these things. I plan to come here just for the food in addition to watching games this year.”

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