NEW YORK — A shooting on the New York City subway hit especially close to home for the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday morning, with Kevin Durant and his teammates reacting to the “devastating” news with shock.
At least 10 people were shot by a gunman at the 36th Street station, which is located about a half-mile from the Nets’ practice facility in Brooklyn. In all, at least 29 people were treated at hospitals for gunshot wounds, smoke inhalation and other conditions. Police are still searching for the shooter, who fled the scene in a construction vest and a gas mask.
“It’s devastating,” Durant said after the walkthrough practice ahead of Tuesday night’s home play-in game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. “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.”
The Nets held a moment of reflection before the game and announced they would donate $50,000 — in a joint gift with the New York Liberty Foundation — toward helping the victims of the shooting.
Durant said that he initially started hearing about what had happened through texts from the team but that nobody knew initially how bad the situation was.
“They sent us a text saying there might be some traffic but I don’t know why,” Durant said. “And then you look through your phone and see stuff. I hate violence, I hate senseless violence. Hopefully we can figure out the details and get everybody to safety and get everybody the help that they need, but it’s a tough situation right now.”
After getting to the facility, Durant and his teammates started to learn more about what was happening at the 36th Street station. The sounds of helicopters flying nearby and sirens from police cars and ambulances were present all around the facility.
“Guys pretty much heard stories on social media, through their phones, and hopefully we can get this figured out,” Durant said. “And people [can be] safe. I know it’s a couple people shot. It’s an unfortunate situation. Hopefully they get it figured out.”
Nets coach Steve Nash said he didn’t find out about the tragedy until right about the time the walkthrough began — and even then details weren’t clear.
“Clearly our community was affected this morning in a tragic, unfortunate, senseless way,” Nash said before Tuesday’s game. “That’s the subway stop for our practice facility and our office. My kids go to school not exceedingly far [from there], so it does hit home and you just feel for all those affected and you just recognize that we have a lot of growing to do as a society and a community and you just feel for everybody in our community that were affected.
“We saw a side of life today that is ugly, disappointing and can, I think, at times be worrisome for people in the community. But it’s more important now for our community to look at how to support each other and continue to live with conviction and find ways that we can overcome.”
The Nets were preparing as if the game would go on as scheduled; the league continues to monitor the situation. Television coverage of the shooting played on the monitors just off the practice floor as Nets staff walked by to see what was going on.
Like so many in the organization, veteran guard Goran Dragic couldn’t believe how close the shooting was to the Nets’ facility. As the post-practice media interviews concluded, people in the building started getting emergency alerts on their cellphones about what was happening in the area.
“[Assistant coach Jordan Ott] was saying, ‘You see that yellow building? That’s where that happened,'” Dragic said. “So it’s really close. It’s kind of scary how close it was. I’ve already been in the subway a couple of times, but now, I don’t know. I’ve got my doubts.”