These times have presented us with the greatest challenge to improve.

This past week, I had the privilege of hearing Brad Stevens, the Head Coach of the Boston Celtics speak. He is not only a great coach and brilliant motivator but also a highly intelligent human being. Among the several things he said that all the participants could take away was the fact that these times are fo the intrinsically motivated. That meant to me that we take advantage of the free time we now have to reevaluate our standards and knowledge and see how we can improve. Coach Stevens also cautioned his fellow coaches ” to resist the moss” during these times which meant that we have to get better every day. That is a high standard but a challenge we will try to live up to! Coach also said that a great work ethic, positive attitude and an ability to be connected to your teammates are absolute requirements for every player on his team.

Yesterday, the Junior NBA hosted an outstanding training session featuring Steph Curry and others. Steph urged all of us not to take those around you for granted. He was referring first and foremost to family. These difficult times are providing us with greater opportunities to spend time with family and enjoy each other. In addition to family, these times certainly bring out how important our relationships at work are. This is especially true in the world of basketball where we rely so much on each other both on and off the court. The game of basketball is truly a team game where everyone has a role so that the team can be successful. I agree with Steph very strongly that we need our teammates in order to be successful but even more importantly to be happy in what we do every day. We must stay connected to our teammates and fellow workers in order to continually improve.

As far as Island Garden is concerned, we have no strong estimate when we will be able to reopen. We have been preparing, however, for when that day comes. We have a company that will disinfect both Island Garden and JMF on a regular basis. We also have arranged for training of our cleaning staff so that the playing areas will be kept constantly clean and disinfected. Staff is constantly compiling research as to the proper protocols for assembly, number of people who can be admitted, social distance, ongoing disinfecting and all else which will be required. Our goal is to have every parent trust us that Island Garden will be a safe place to bring their children. If we cannot meet the government standards, we will not open. We, however, believe that we can because no one works harder than my staff and no one cares more about doing what is right, now more than ever.

AAU is still on hold. Boys Basketball District Championships and Zero Gravity events have been postponed for May and June. If safe, we will extend what would have been the Spring Season to the Summer and Fall. We are not giving up!

Lightning is likewise on hold. As I have said many times in recent weeks, we are fortunate to have two facilities under our control which means that Lightning teams will be able to return to practice as soon as it is safe. Many other clubs are dependent upon schools and churches which will be reluctant to rent their facilities. It is our vision to have Lightning teams practicing and playing games on a regular basis because we control our own fate AFTER WE ARE TOLD BY THE GOVERNMENT THAT WE CAN PROCEED.

In all, it is most important that everyone remain safe. We will always put people first. Island Garden, Lightning and NY AAU will return to be the center of youth basketball just as soon as possible and long before many others can get back on the courts. We will share this position of advantage with our friends as much as possible so that we all can get back to the game we love.

Finally, we may be closed but we are working every day to still be AWESOME.

Jim Fox

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