As New York’s official basketball team, the Knicks take pride in representing the city and all those who inhabit it. With over 9 million individual stories, basketball is our vehicle in uniting New Yorkers from every block of the city. Whether you’ve been a Knicks fan since the 90’s or picked the sport up as an adult, bonding over your shared love for basketball despite the differences in background, race, and sexual orientation, is the driving impetus behind our support for the Pride Basketball League of NYC.
As the city’s first official basketball organization dedicated to creating a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ Community, the PBLNYC is one of the few spaces where this overlooked group of athletes can come together and be their authentic selves. Eric Moretti, a nine-year veteran, noted, “it’s validating to exist in a space where our identities as queer people and basketball players are affirmed, with no questions asked.”
When asked about the importance of having these protected environments, Ana A., the Commissioner of the Women’s Division, said, “It means everything! Everyone has a special connection to basketball… [so] to have a league that centers the queer and trans community, the bonds are that much more special, and I think the special connection to basketball grows even more… the best wins always happen off the court.”
Sports, and specifically basketball, transcend cultural differences, break barriers, and unite people within these communities, such as the LGBTQIA+. But if you were born and raised in Manhattan like Eric Moretti, basketball influences everything from your style, free time, to even the locations of where you hang with your friends.
Its ability to transcend cultural differences, break barriers, and unite people within the LGBTQIA+ Community captures basketball’s most admirable trait. Brad Seidman, one of the Board Members for the Men’s Division of the PBLNYC, said, “Basketball is a sport that has multiple demographics and attracts multiple populations… it’s a good gateway for people to connect in all different ways.”
At the end of the day, the way you talk, look, and dress shouldn’t affect your opportunity to live your life and play the game that you love; everyone deserves a chance to experience basketball in its purest form. So, when you have an organization like the New York Knicks stamping the PBLNYC and everything it stands for, it’s a win not only for communities like the LGBTQIA+, but for everyone who calls themselves a fan of the game.