Ebbets Field flagpole installed at BarclaysSharon Robinson among others on hand for Tuesday dedication
On Tuesday afternoon, prior to the Nets’ home date with the New York Knicks, the team held a ceremony to commemorate the flagpole’s installation at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, just steps from the main entrance of the arena. Both an American flag and Nets flag were raised to the top of the restored pole during the ceremony, and a plaque commemorating its history was unveiled as well.
“We are proud that such a historic symbol of Ebbets Field will now stand permanently outside of Barclays Center to connect the borough’s great sports past to its present," Barclays Center Majority Owner Bruce Ratner said in a statement. “The memories of Ebbets Field will always be an important part of Brooklyn’s history, and now fans from throughout the borough can take enormous pride in seeing a piece of Ebbets Field en route to watching Brooklyn’s new professional sports team.”
Sharon Robinson, daughter of legendary Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, was on hand, joining Nets guard Jerry Stackhouse, Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Ratner among others for the pole’s dedication.
"I think it's a beautiful connection to Ebbets Field, to imagine this flying over Ebbets Field and the Brooklyn Dodgers being such a part of that history here with this plaque," Sharon Robinson said. "So it will remind people that the Brooklyn Dodgers were here, and made such a difference in this community, and now we have the Brooklyn Nets."
When Ebbets Field was demolished in 1960, the flagpole was donated to a VFW post on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush neighborhood. It stood there for 47 years until Ratner purchased it in 2007, with the goal of positioning it at the Barclays Center once completed – but that transaction may not have happened without Borough President Markowitz alerting Ratner of the pole’s availability.
“Bravo to the Brooklyn Nets and to Bruce Ratner for this fitting tribute to our beloved ‘bums’ of yesteryear, the Brooklyn Dodgers,” Markowitz said. “There is no better way to honor the Dodgers’ legacy in Brooklyn than by raising the Ebbets Field flagpole with Sharon Robinson, the daughter of Jackie Robinson, a product of Brooklyn and a great American hero.”
Robinson was a hero to Stackhouse, who wears jersey No. 42 partly in honor of the Brooklyn legend, and the veteran guard said he was “ecstatic” to be on hand for the event.
"Jackie Robinson means so much to African-Americans like myself; without his contributions and what he was able to do through his playing, we wouldn't be able to do the things we're able to do today,” Stackhouse told ESPNNewYork.com. “I wore 42 for a number of different reasons, but when I found out the story and what he meant to athletes in general, I wear that number with tremendous honor. And I look forward to carrying what he stood for into the next generation and whoever wears this number after me."
Stackhouse may or may not be wearing that No. 42 in Brooklyn after this year, but the flagpole will stand forever outside Barclays – an arena built for a team that Sharon Robinson said she “was not surprised” was brought to Brooklyn by Ratner and Markowitz.
So what would her father think about a piece of Brooklyn’s history becoming part of its present and future?
"I think he'd be very proud. It's right here in the heart of the city, and that would've been very important to him, as it is to us."
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