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MSG to donate $500k, host Sandy telethon

The Madison Square Garden Company announced Friday that it will donate $500,000 and host a telethon on the MSG Network to support relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

James Dolan, Knicks owner and MSG executive chairman, said that he hopes his team's season opener against the Heat on Friday night can be a brief diversion from the devastation left by the hurricane.

"It's a big game. It's good for New York," Dolan, who rarely speaks with the media, told a small group of reporters before the game. "A lot of people told me they were either coming or watching on TV. It will give people something to cheer about and take their minds off of things for a few hours."

Heat guard Dwyane Wade, though, doesn't think it's appropriate for the Knicks and Heat to play with the rest of the city reeling in the aftermath of the storm.

"I just felt that (there were) bigger things to be concerned about than us being here to play a basketball game," Wade said after the Heat's morning shootaround at Madison Square Garden. "Obviously, sports ... takes people's minds away from things, but I think there are bigger things that need to be done here in this city."

Knicks coach Mike Woodson wants his players to understand the hardships that some in the tri-state area are going through.

"This has been a tough week for a lot of people," Woodson said. "It's a sad day in this area -- New Jersey, New York area -- in terms of what has happened. We got to be open-minded and try to be helpful if we can to people who are struggling to feed their families and have a roof over their head.

"That's tough. It's widespread. It's not just in one area. You got a lot of people who are out of homes and not able to feed their kids. I want our players to understand and appreciate. I know I do, where I am today, because it's tough out there right now. You wish those people the best."

The Madison Square Garden Company will divide its donation equally between the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City and the American Red Cross. It will be used to assist in the purchase and distribution of food, water and hygiene products, as well as for long-term restoration efforts.

The telethon will take place Nov. 9 during the Knicks-Mavericks game on MSG.