BROOKLYN, N.Y. — “For my city, emphasis on my city,” Fabolous rapped in his song “So NY”.
Everything is about his city, and again on Wednesday, it was his time to give back.
Born in Bedford-Stuyvesant, John Jackson, better known as “Fabolous” or “Fab”, has been a vocal part of the Brooklyn community and an integral part of the face of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. His voice hasn’t wavered.
On Wednesday, the Nets celebrated the borough by wearing their new “City edition” jerseys modeled on the Brooklyn Bridge, thin suspension cables the basis for thin pinstripes, the welcoming arches reflected in the curves of the jersey.
In the mood, Fab brought 100 people – mostly kids - from Bed-Stuy to enjoy the game and the embrace the borough.
“Growing up, we needed opportunities and experiences like this to show us that it’s possible for you to be successful,” Fabolous told NetsDaily, in explaining his rationale. “You can be a Brooklyn Net if you want, you can do whatever you want to do in life. These experiences alone can help lay out the blueprint for something more than what you’re used to seeing every day.”
Before the game, Fab brought the children onto the practice court and got a couple rounds of games in before they headed to their seats.
As the children filed onto the practice court, one awestruck boy tried to contain his excitement but then just let go: “Oh my god. Oh my god. I’m on the Nets court!” as he ran to get a basketball.
Fab’s love for the game made it even more worthwhile, as he discussed how important it is that children from “tough environments“ get to experience something like this, especially things they love like basketball.
He recalled the day he fell in love with basketball and agreed with Kenny Atkinson’s mantra: “Brooklyn is basketball.”
“I grew up in the projects playing ball with my friends and our neighborhood used to have these summer tournaments. It was cool because we got to play in front of our neighborhood,” he explained.
“Those are some of my best memories of playing ball because I played in front of my friends, my family. It was just great times, man. People yelling from the sidelines.
“Just good memories playing ball in Brooklyn.”
In our conversation, I explained to Fab how I played ball all throughout the boroughs. One story still sticks out to me almost 10 years later. One of my AAU teams was based in Brentwood, Long Island. We had an exhibition game and our coach had no details. The team didn’t have a name nor a set roster.
They just wanted to ball.
As we warmed up we heard a chant getting louder and louder as they approached the gym. Every player, including the coaches, were chanting, “Broookklynnn”. We knew right then and there that we would be in for a tough game.
“There’s definitely grit to the people of Brooklyn. It’s more a pride thing more than anything,“ Fab explained. “People from Brooklyn are proud that they’re from Brooklyn, they represent that and wear it on their shoulder.
“It’s like stripes for them. I know it because I come from it and I have that same pride. That’s the people, man. People who come from this environment, and they’re proud of it. They make the most of it.”
That’s what people who live Brooklyn believe, from native born to the newest resident. They’re proud of who they are, no matter the circumstances. No obstacle is ever too big or too small. Look at Fabolous. He grew up in the projects and flourished, ultimately becming one of the top rap artists.
Don’t get it confused, though. Fab is known for his longtime Knicks fanhood but he explained how he was a Knicks fan before the Nets came to the borough. Old habits die hard.
What about when the city rivals play one another?
“I root for a good game, but I got to root for Brooklyn. This is my home,” he said with a big smile.
A MESSAGE FROM FABOLOUS TO NETS FANS
SCENES FROM THE EVENT (via NetsDaily Snapchat)