The excitement for the start of the Nets playoff run was dampened on Tuesday by the subway shooting in Sunset Park, Brooklyn just half a mile away from the team’s practice facility.
Nets players and staff were devastated by the news that at least 29 people had been injured — 10 of whom had been shot — when a gunman opened fire on a Manhattan-bound N express train near 36th Street and 4th Avenue. The shooter, who fled the scene wearing a construction vest and gas mask, is still at large.
“It’s obviously a very tragic morning,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “We’re devastated for the community and for those directly involved. I don’t know a lot of the details, so I don’t want to get too far into it, but we’re just all concerned for everyone involved. And at the same time try to prepare and be focused on our task at hand.”
The 36th street station’s proximity to the team’s practice facility makes it a frequent mode of transportation for team staffers, which were all accounted for on Tuesday following the incident. The Nets prepared for their game against the Cleveland cavaliers as scheduled as emergency personnel and investigators were just blocks away at the scene of Tuesday’s shooting.
The Nets are scheduled to host the Cavaliers in the play-in tournament on Tuesday night at Barclays Center.
“It’s devastating,” Kevin Durant said. “I don’t know the details. To hear the sirens out front of the practice facility and see so much commotion going on outside, you hope and pray for the best for everybody involved.”
Kevin Durant on the shooting at the 36th St. subway stop just blocks from #Nets practice facility: “I know a couple people got shot. This is an unfortunate situation; I hope they get it figured out…It’s devastating here.” #nba
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) April 12, 2022
The Nets superstar heard about the shooting as he was making his way into the practice facility. The Nets had sent out a text update warning players about traffic in the area, but players didn’t begin to understand the magnitude of the situation until they started seeing more information on social media.
Because of the scattered times that players were arriving for Tuesday’s shootaround the Nets didn’t have time to cancel as the events of the morning unfolded.
The news hit particularly close for Goran Dragic, who joined the team in February and was just rejoining the club after clearing COVID protocols.
“I was just talking to (assistant) Jordan Ott the coach and we were talking about the situation,” Dragic said. “And he was saying you see that yellow building, that’s where that happened. So it’s really close. It’s kind of scary of how close. And I’ve already been in the subway a couple times, but now I have my doubts.”
The motive for the attack remains unknown.