Community is part of the culture. Making an impact in the community, in fact, is something the Nets have prided themselves on throughout the course of this season, in particular.
We’ve seen Jarrett Allen take 25 kids Thanksgiving shopping in Queens. We’ve seen Spencer Dinwiddie host an NBA Clinic in New York City for kids on a Sunday afternoon. We’ve seen the Nets introduce new courts in Gowanus, Brooklyn in memory of Nicholas Naquan Heyward Jr.
And now, we can add another to the growing list of good deeds the Nets have carried out around Brooklyn.
DeMarre Carroll and Dante Cunningham, two of the team’s veterans, spent Tuesday afternoon, after team practice, taking a few single mom’s and their families on a $500 shopping spree at the big Macy’s at 422 Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
It was one surprise after another. Here’s how the day began shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday.
After introductions, it was up a few floors. Carroll brought one family to the Adidas section. Carroll, who is sponsored by Adidas — as his Team Carroll Premier, an Alabama-based AAU team — liked the joint approach.
Carroll, a father of two, mentioned that he was used to shopping with his kids. So he knew what to do.
Later on, Carroll spent some time with one of the mothers, Mardelle Williams, and after helping her select a fragrance using the Macy’s gift card, Carroll decided to purchase a second bottle for Williams, this one paid out of his own pocket.
On her interaction with the Net swingman, Williams, a native of Barbados, said the experience didn’t feel abnormal, but said the 6’8” forward did surprise her, adding that the entire event was a genuinely pleasant surprise ... made by doubly so with her birthday coming up.
“I was told I’m coming here with two co-workers because ‘it’s something we have for you and all that other stuff. I couldn’t believe it,” she recounted. “I figured we’d come over here, do our little thing, get a five-dollar gift card and that would be it and we would go. But I didn’t know it was a shopping expedition. I would’ve gotten all my things in my head of what I was going to get! First time that ever happened to me. It must be because my birthday is next week.”
“I didn’t know he (Carroll) was going to do that,” added Williams. “I didn’t know (what to expect) and that’s the truth.”
Williams works with those who have intellectual disabilities, bringing them into tho communities to build their social and work skills.
The other mom, Mayra Garcia, tweeted out her thanks.
I'm forever grateful thank you for giving me the best gift the shopping spree was great but my favorite part of everything is giving back to the community and laughing and talking with my kids they enjoyed themselves I enjoyed seen them smile thank you thank you so much god bless pic.twitter.com/HLSgZmIz1X— Mayra Garcia (@mayra_bitch) March 21, 2018
Carroll, who has had his own off-court impact this season, says being back in the community on behalf of himself, the organization and the city, felt great.
“It just shows what we’re about,” said Carroll, following the festivities. “The Brooklyn culture, what we stand for, the Brooklyn Grit, what everybody talks about. It just shows what we’re about and we’re about helping others. It’s way bigger than basketball. Basketball is just a small sample size. Life is way bigger than basketball and we’re just trying to show it and prove it.
“I think we just try to be role models in our own way,” he later added. “We know we have a big platform to try to get out and show who we are and what we represent. I think this is a great opportunity for us to do that to just represent not only myself and my teammates but the Brooklyn organization.”
He also discussed the surprise he afforded Williams, and the reasoning behind it.
“I told her I was going to buy something on my behalf. I was just doing a little bit for her. I felt like she was so excited about it. I’m just happy to put a smile on her face,” he said.
As for Cunningham, this was his first crack at being a Net in the public eye and off the court. He talked about how he was also grateful for the experience of giving back on such a personal level.
“We’re in a position where we can help out and why not give a helping hand?” he said. “I was blessed to have a mom and dad in the household. I had a couple of friends that only had a mother or a father in the household. So I mean it’s a situation where you can help out so why not?”