FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lindsey Pritzlaff, Director of Communications
609-371-9474 or email@example.com
NEW YORK, April 25, 2012 – The Garden of Dreams Foundation and New York Knicks worked together with Make-A-Wish New Jersey to help grant the special wish of 18-year-old, Jake Koppel from Spotswood, NJ.
Battling leukemia, Jake had the opportunity to have a wish granted; Jake’s wish was to attend a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden with his family and high school basketball team, the Spotswood Chargers, which he manages. Dedicated to his team and motivated by his teammates, Jake saw his wish as a way to give back to his teammates for the support given to him to beat his cancer.
Jake said, “They [his teammates] always held a special place my heart. They helped me get through tough times during my treatment. I have a lot of friends on the basketball team, and I just wanted to experience the wish with my teammates.”
On Wednesday, April 25, the Knicks final regular-season home game, Jake had his wish fulfilled alongside his teammates. Jake, family and teammates were invited by Garden of Dreams and the New York Knicks for an unforgettable night at Madison Square Garden. Upon arrival, Jake and his guests were escorted into Madison Square Garden to attend the private, pregame shoot around. The group was seated courtside as they watched the Knicks warm up for the night’s match-up versus the Los Angeles Clippers. During shoot around, Knicks great Larry Johnson welcomed Jake and the Chargers to the game while current Knicks players Iman Shumpert and Landry Fields stopped by to take photos with the team. As Shumpert and Fields headed back to the court, Larry Johnson escorted Jake and his crew to center court for a memorable photo opportunity.
As arena doors opened, Jake and the Chargers headed to the Knicks staging area to prepare for an opportunity of a lifetime – to play on the Knicks court at Madison Square Garden. Proudly sporting the Spotswood Chargers blue and white jerseys, Jake led his team on-court to participate in a six-minute intersquad scrimmage. The blue and white jerseys raced up and down the court as Jake paced on the sideline with a smile beaming from ear-to-ear. Jake yelled out coaching instructions as the fans cheered.
Following the scrimmage, there were more surprises in store for Jake and his teammates. Spending only a few minutes away from his teammates, Jake had the chance to participate as Honorary Knicks Co-Captain. Before tip-off, Jake headed center court for the captains’ meeting between the referees and the captains of each team. Jake took a photo with the captains and referees to capture the moment. After serving as Honorary Knicks Co-Captain, Jake returned to his teammates to learn the team would be forming the Starting High Five Line during player introductions. In front of a sold out crowd, Jake, his sister Meaghan and the Chargers lined up for introductions with the Knicks reserves to high five the Knicks starters as they made their grand entrance onto the court. With adrenaline running high, Jake led his team back to the Knicks staging area where they found the full Knicks City Dancers team waiting to wish Jake a “Happy Wish Day.” Jake received an individual photo with the Knicks City Dancers team and, in true manager style, he made sure the Chargers received a photo as well.
After an exciting pregame, it was now game time. Jake, his family and the Chargers were escorted to a decorated, catered suite to enjoy the Knicks-Clippers match up. In the suite, Jake received a surprise visit from Knicks legend John Starks. Starks spent time in the suite taking photos, signing autographs and distributing gift bags.
At the end of the game, Jake, his family and team had many things to celebrate including a Knicks win, an amazing wish day and Jake’s cancer remission.
Truly an unselfish and thankful wish, Jake shared, “My favorite part of the night was definitely being on the Knicks home court playing with my teammates.”
Garden of Dreams is a 501(c) (3) non-profit charity that works closely with all areas of The Madison Square Garden Company, including the New York Knicks, Rangers, Liberty, MSG Networks, MSG Entertainment and Fuse. Garden of Dreams has worked tirelessly to fulfill its mission by creating unique and unforgettable events and activities – often involving unprecedented access to Madison Square Garden celebrities, events and venues – that have brightened the lives of thousands and thousands of special children and their families. For more information on the Garden of Dreams Foundation, visit www.gardenofdreamsfoundation.org.
Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Founded in 1980 when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, Make-A-Wish is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world. With the help of generous donors and more than 30,000 volunteers worldwide, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 280,000 wishes around the world since its inception. Make-A-Wish America is partnering with Make-A-Wish International for World Wish Day. Make-A-Wish New Jersey was founded in 1983. Serving children in every municipality in the Garden State, Make-A-Wish New Jersey has granted more than 7,100 wishes since its inception. For more information about Make-A-Wish New Jersey, call 800-252-WISH or visit www.nj.wish.org and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.
The NBA’s New York Knickerbockers basketball team, in its 66th year of operation is part of The Madison Square Garden Company, a fully-integrated sports, entertainment and media business. The company is comprised of three business segments: MSG Sports, MSG Media and MSG Entertainment, which are strategically aligned to work together to drive the Company’s overall business, which is built on a foundation of iconic venues and compelling content that the Company creates, produces, presents and/or distributes through its programming networks and other media assets. MSG Sports consists of owning and operating sports franchises, including the New York Knicks (NBA), the New York Rangers (NHL), the New York Liberty (WNBA), and the Connecticut Whale (AHL). MSG Sports also features other sports properties, including the presentation of a wide variety of live sporting events including professional boxing, college basketball, track and field and tennis. MSG Media is a leader in production and content development for multiple distribution platforms, including content originating from the Company’s venues. MSG Media consists of the MSG Networks (MSG, MSG Plus, MSG HD and MSG Plus HD) regional sports networks and the Fuse Networks (Fuse and Fuse HD), a national television network dedicated to music. MSG Entertainment is one of the country’s leaders in live entertainment. MSG Entertainment creates, produces and/or presents a variety of live productions, including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes. MSG Entertainment also presents or hosts other live entertainment events such as concerts, family shows and special events in the Company’s diverse collection of venues. These venues include: Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theatre, the Chicago Theatre and the Wang Theatre. More information is available at www.themadisonsquaregardencompany.com.