Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: February 2, 11:56 PM ET
Knicks to host Sandy Hook kids
ESPN.com news services
NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks are hosting 150 children, their families and teachers from Sandy Hook Elementary School on Saturday for their game against the Sacramento Kings.
Approximately twenty children from the Newtown (Conn.) Choir from Sabrinas Encore Products sang the national anthem before the game and received a rousing ovation from the Garden crowd. Saturday night's visit was the second time this week the Knicks and children from the devastated community about 90 minutes away will be together.
The Knicks organization on Tuesday visited Newtown, where 20 children and six adults were shot and killed at the school in December.
The team, the Knicks City Dancers and Madison Square Garden's Garden of Dreams Foundation hosted 400 children from Sandy Hook Elementary and their families at the Newtown Youth Academy in what was called a "Knicks Family Fun Day" event.
"It was fun," Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said. "We went out there (and) it was just good to see a lot of people smile all over again. Just to be doing the things that we were doing -- playing the games, playing basketball with them, just making people smile and feel happy about themselves."
"It's a lot of mixed feelings when you go down to such a tragedy that happened down there. But at the same time, to see those kids, have those families smile and have fun with us, that was great," Raymond Felton said.
Added Amar'e Stoudemire: "We were there pretty much just wanting to put smiles and hope back in the families' faces. It was an awesome event. Great for us to interact with the families there. That was great for them."
A month after the killings, children from the choir who will perform recorded "Sandy Hook: Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Proceeds from the sale of the song will benefit the Newtown Youth Academy and the United Way of Western Connecticut.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson was pleased that his team could have a small, but positive impact on the community.
"I don't care what community you live in or where you go and visit, man, you hate to see a community go through something like that, especially when you're dealing with young kids," Woodson said. "A lot of those kids never had a chance."
Information from The Associated Press and ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley was used in this report.