By Tyshawn Taylor, New Jersey Nets
Taken By Storm
Nov. 5, 2012 — I guess I have a pretty interesting story this week. Sandy hit really close to home. It’s been a different experience for me because I grew up in the Hoboken, NJ housing projects. And since I play for the Brooklyn Nets, I am still able to live in Hoboken. My entire family and closest friends were affected by the storm.
I underestimated the storm a little bit. My power went out at about 2:30 a.m. It didn’t rain that much, but the wind pushed the water from the Hudson River on to Hoboken. My building was surrounded by five to six feet of nasty water on all four sides. My family lives about four blocks from me in the housing projects where I was raised. They don’t have power, and they had flooding, too.
Hoboken is in bad shape. There is still no power, and it’s pitch black. The streets are full of branches, dirt, trees, garbage cans. A lot of the buildings are flooded. All of the stores are closed, and the restaurants aren’t serving. There’s no school. They are starting to get help, but it took a while for the help to get to the projects. The Red Cross is out there giving away blankets and food now, which is very much needed.
Our team was supposed to practice on Tuesday, but practice was canceled. On Wednesday morning, I woke up wondering if we were going to have our home opener against the Knicks on Thursday. I got a text saying that we would still be playing as scheduled. Then, about an hour later, I received another text saying that it was canceled. It was bittersweet. We were so excited for our first game, but I obviously understood the circumstances. It was the right decision to cancel it.
I’ve been staying at a hotel in Brooklyn the last few nights, close to the gym and the arena. Even though I was lucky and my building got power back Saturday (they must have gotten a generator because the rest of the area is still in the dark), getting from Hoboken to Brooklyn is crazy! A drive that usually takes me about 30 minutes took an hour and a half since the tunnel I take to get there is closed. It took me two and a half hours to get gas the other day. Also, I can’t get food in Hoboken, and I still feel like I’m on an island when I’m there.
Our team is on the road this week, so I’ll probably go back to my place in Hoboken when we return on Friday.
Help Is On The Way
Coach Johnson talked to us after the game on Saturday night about what we will do as a team to help with the hurricane relief efforts. Since we are traveling, it might take a few extra days. But I know Coach is on top of it.
Being from Hoboken and seeing the people out there all the time, I feel like it’s my job to help out as much as I can. One person can’t fix it all, but I think the people out there will appreciate my help. It will make me feel good, too. I am trying to figure out now how I’m going to help. I can’t provide power or a hot shower, but I’ll do whatever I can.
This is my hometown, and I care about it a lot. This past summer, I gave away school supplies and basketball video games at the Hoboken housing projects. I will be back to do more.
Getting In The Groove
There’s a lot that goes into being an NBA player, and you have to handle it well. It’s much more than being an athlete -– it’s being a role model, a professional, a businessman. It can be overwhelming at times, but I come from the University of Kansas, where we worked a lot with the media and out in the community. I studied communications in college, so I am comfortable working with the media, and we’ve already done some NBA Cares community outreach projects in Brooklyn. If I wasn’t a four-year graduate, I think this would be more overwhelming for me. I am also getting adjusted to not playing as much as I was before in college, which is something a lot of other rookies are going through as well.
We have a great group of veterans that look out for us rookies, and I’m learning and gaining knowledge from each one of them. Teammates Jerry Stackhouse, Deron Williams and Keith Bogans have been really helpful to me. Just watching Deron play at the point guard position, and playing against him in practice, helps me to get better.
Coach Johnson is intense and hands-on. He gets out there and shows us how it’s done. Sometimes when you get tired, Coach Johnson is the automatic energy we need.
Our first game against Toronto was crazy! It was a good crowd and a good game, especially because we got the win! A lot more fans came than I expected, considering the circumstances. We saw our mascot for first time, the Brooklyknight. It was very exciting!
I’m excited about our game tonight against Minnesota. They are a young team that is talented and well coached. But, so are we.
Tyshawn Taylor, a 6-foot-3 point guard from Kansas, was the 41st player taken in the 2012 NBA Draft. He was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers and traded to the Nets on Draft night. You can follow him on Twitter @tyshawntaylor.
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