With New York hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, the Knicks’ game scheduled for Thursday in Brooklyn was postponed, and Heat players thought theirs would follow. Instead, they flew from Miami on Thursday afternoon and arrived in their New York hotel after a three-hour bus ride from nearby Newark, N.J.
Wade was so sure the game would be postponed that he never even packed until after practice Thursday. His reaction to all the traffic as New Yorkers struggle to recover further convinced him it should have been rescheduled.
”If we’re in a car and we’re in traffic for three hours, what are other people who are really affected by this, what are they doing? How are they getting around, how are they moving, et cetera?” Wade said after the Heat’s morning shootaround at Madison Square Garden.
”So it was just like, come on man, we shouldn’t be here to play a basketball game. If anything, we should be here to do something to help the city.”
The NBA had no response to Wade’s comment.
Wade is planning to donate the equivalent of a game check – $209,536.59, before taxes – to relief efforts, a decision he made Friday morning. He’s done similar things in the past, like joining former Heat teammate Alonzo Mourning to raise $1 million after a massive earthquake struck Haiti in 2010.
James said the Heat hadn’t been here long enough to witness any damage beyond what they had seen on TV. He added he was glad to be in the city but was aware that even New Yorkers were conflicted as to whether the games should go on.
”I think we’re all in agreement when we say that getting everything situated and getting everything back up and running from the hurricane is more important than a basketball game, but there’s also people that believe that we need this basketball game for a lot of spirits and a lot of families,” James said. ”So I’m kind of 50-50 with it as well.
”I’m happy to be here to play a basketball game, but at the same time, if the people that’s here at the basketball game or you know the people that’s helping out with this game, could give their efforts to make the city run or make these families come out of this situation, then I think that’s more important.”
The Knicks-Nets game that would have been played at the Barclays Center on Thursday was postponed at the request of Mayor Michael Bloomberg because most of the city’s mass-transit system still wasn’t operational. But the city didn’t have the same concerns about playing at Madison Square Garden, which is easier to drive to and offers much more parking options in Manhattan.
Knicks players said Thursday they weren’t sure what kind of crowd to predict for what would normally be a packed house. James and Wade, who like many stars love playing at the Garden, expect the usual vocal crowd as long as fans can get here.
Wade just isn’t sure they should even have to try.
”I just felt like everything that’s going on that there’s bigger things to be concerned about, worried about than us coming to town to play a basketball game,” he said. ”So I didn’t feel it, obviously we’re here and we want to play well and we want to do all that, but I thought they would cancel it. I woke up yesterday and I thought it would be canceled.
”I didn’t think that the game of basketball was of importance today, but the show must go on I guess and we will try to come out here and represent both cities, Miami and New York,” Wade added. ”Miami is always affected by hurricanes, so we’re very sensitive to what’s going on here because we know how it can affect the community. But I just felt there was bigger things to be concerned about.”