NEW YORK (AP) — The Knicks-Nets game that was scheduled for Thursday night at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn has been postponed at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s request after damage from Hurricane Sandy.
Though the NBA had said Tuesday night the game would go on as planned, Bloomberg asked the league that it be called off.
The Barclays Center sits above a subway station and commuter rail terminal and with most of mass transit still out in New York, transportation to the game would have been difficult.
“It’s a great stadium, it would have been a great game but the bottom line is there is not a lot of mass transit. Our police have plenty of other things to do,” Bloomberg said at a news conference.
There is no word yet on the Knicks’ game scheduled for Friday at Madison Square Garden against Miami. The Nets are scheduled to host Toronto on Saturday night.
The league said Tuesday it was still assessing games for later in the week. Bloomberg said the city will work with the league to provide extra buses to Saturday’s game in case the subways are not yet operational.
The usual NBA policy on the status of a game is to play it if both teams and the three referees can make it to the arena. That wouldn’t have been a problem, one of the reasons the league originally planned to play as scheduled.
However, the league also wanted to be sensitive because it was the Nets’ first game, televised to a national TV audience on TNT, and not wanting the team’s big event to be one that was largely empty.
“Mayor Bloomberg informed us this afternoon that after further analysis of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy that he felt it was in the best interests of the city of New York, the teams and our fans that we postpone the Knicks-Nets game scheduled for Thursday night,” NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this devastating storm.”
Barclays Center sits above the Atlantic Avenue subway station complex, which hosts nine subway lines and a Long Island Rail Road station, and was expanded as part of the $1 billion arena’s construction. The Nets believe that will be a major selling point in drawing fans to the games.
But without knowing what — if any — subways would be available and with city officials still preferring people not drive into New York, the Nets agreed with the decision.
“Some of you still don’t have power, but there are people that have lost lives, lost loved ones, lost their belongings. So I think as an organization, as players, we’ve got to be sensitive and understand that it’s bigger than the game of basketball,” Nets general manager Billy King told reporters before Bloomberg’s announcement. “What this storm has done to this region, as Gov. Christie said, it’s something that no one has really seen in their lifetime.”
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