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Nets dedicate season opener to New York’s essential workers

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As the long anticipated 2020-21 season kicks off Tuesday, the Nets are dedicating their opening night at Barclays Center to the city’s essential workers “who have shown the world what it means to be ‘New York Tough.’”

Throughout the evening, the Nets will highlight and thank “local heroes who have helped lead New York through the early days of the coronavirus pandemic and have continued to serve on the frontlines over the past nine months,” the team announced Tuesday morning.

Those who’ll be honored include medical personnel, nursing home attendants, MTA employees, sanitation workers and others.

The YES Network will feature profiles of a number of these essential workers during their pre-game show, which airs at 6:00 p.m. ET. There will be more personnel honored during TNT’s national broadcast of the game itself as well as on the Nets’ and NBA’s social media channels as well as on NBA TV.

The Nets and Barclays, the arena naming rights partner, have collectively with other donors raised more than $2 million for COVID-19 Relief Efforts through the initiative - an amount similar to what the team would have made in ticket sales had the game been played in front of a sold out crowd. All funds raised will be donated to Coalition for the Homeless, The Campaign Against Hunger, Good Shepherd Services, New York Cares, and United Way’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. Full list of donors below.

“The Brooklyn Nets are proud to launch the start of the 2020-21 NBA season with this very special event, Barclays Essential Together,” said John Abbamondi, CEO of BSE Global.

“Barclays Essential Together reflects our collective gratitude for the selflessness displayed by all of New York’s essential workers this year, as well as our recognition of the fundamental human need to be together,” said Abbamondi.

“Tonight, our entire organization, with incredible partnership from Barclays, will honor these heroes who have embodied “New York Tough” by continuing to serve others in order to keep our City going. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his support of this special event and the return of professional basketball to Brooklyn.”

“New York’s essential workers are true heroes in our community’s fight against COVID-19,” added Paul Compton, Global Head of Banking and Co-President of Barclays Bank PLC. “We are all very grateful for your dedication and service.”

Those to be honored Tuesday night include...

Damalai Dalgety, Clinical Nurse, Maimonides Medical Center

A nurse of 12 years, Damalai Dalgety, RN, BSN was among the first group of Maimonides nurses to care for patients with COVID-19, and she consistently stood out in her practice, inspiring both her colleagues as well as patients and families because of her dedication to excellence. Dalgety describes her experience caring for a large cohort of COVID-19 patients as the most challenging of her career as a professional nurse, but also characterizes this period as the most fulfilling because of her contribution to meeting the community’s need for an effective response to the pandemic.

Kevin Herard, Environmental Services Department, MJHS

Kevin Herard is an employee of the Environmental Services Department at Isabella Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care, a member of MJHS Health System. At the height of the pandemic, Herard’s ability to follow infection control guidelines, plus be a familiar source of calm, optimism, and humor was – and remains – an important part of the health, well-being and quality of life for the seniors who live at Isabella.

Luis Jimenez, Bus Operator, MTA

Luis Jimenez is a bus operator for the MTA where he has been volunteering for double-shifts during the pandemic, working an incredible amount of hours to help fill in for sick colleagues and ensure that the buses remain clean. He is also a member of the New York Liberty Timeless Torches dance team.

Peterson Exil, Overnight P.A., Hospital for Special Surgery

Peterson Exil has worked as an Overnight P.A. (physician assistant) at Hospital for Special Surgery for seven years, and over the last nine months he has worked directly with patients impacted by COVID-19. Exil’s patients have expressed gratitude for his ability to provide them with a sense of calm in the early stages of the pandemic when there were many fears and unknowns about the virus.

Mohammad Razvi, CEO, and Steve Hernandez Gil, Volunteer, Council of Peoples Organization

Mohammad Razvi is the Chief Executive Office of Council of Peoples Organization (COPO) - a nonprofit in Brooklyn that serves the immigrant and Muslim community while advocating for equal rights in New York City. Razvi has been operating a food pantry at COPO’s facility throughout the pandemic and one special volunteer over the past nine months has been Steven Hernandez, “Big Steve,” a second grader from P.S. 238, who has enjoyed spending time giving back to neighbors in-need.

Contributing donors to the COVID-19 Relief Efforts include Barclays; Ainslie Foundation; Coatue Foundation; Golub Capital; Joe Bae & KKR; Ken Griffin, Citadel; Owl Rock Capital Partners; Stephen Schwarzman, Jon Gray, and Michael Chae of Blackstone; WeWork; BDT & Company; Chris English, Rockfence Capital; Daniel S. Loeb & Third Point LLC; Dyal Capital; Larry Gagosian, Gagosian; Arctos Sports Partners; and VIA.