Knicks players meet fans in Bayside

Arron Afflalo (left) and Kyle O'Quinn appeared at Chase Bank on Bell Boulevard.
THE COURIER/Photos by Alina Suriel

Knicks fans were treated to a meet-and-greet with some of their basketball heroes when players made an appearance Monday in Bayside.

Kyle O’Quinn and Arron Afflalo signed autographs and took photos with fans of all ages at Chase Bank on Bell Boulevard as part of the Knicks’ “Basketball in the Boroughs” program.

Attendees were gifted with Knicks merchandise such as towels, sweatbands and T-shirts all emblazoned with the team logo and the signature colors of orange and blue. Fans also got a chance to win free tickets to a Knicks game by answering trivia questions about the players’ game history and personal lives.

O’Quinn, a Jamaica native, said it meant a lot to him to come back to his home borough to meet local Knicks fans.

“As a Knicks fan you always wanted to engage with them,” O’Quinn said. “I’m on the other side now and it feels good giving back and engaging with the fans that support us so much.”

Young fans attending the event could not believe that they were meeting the basketball stars in person.

“When I came in I was so excited,” said an 11-year-old fan named Brandell. “I was telling my friend I was so nervous.”

“I’m really excited because I’m a big fan of the NBA, so to see them here is really cool,” 15-year-old Malcolm Combs said.

The Basketball in the Boroughs program is presented by Chase and has been hosting events across all five boroughs for the past five years, according to a Madison Square Garden representative. Activities include Chase branch visits with Knicks players and alumni, youth basketball clinics and court refurbishments in the boroughs.

This season’s Basketball in the Boroughs celebration culminates on Monday, Dec. 7, with a Knicks vs. Mavericks game featuring the borough of Queens in a themed night of programing with local DJs, youth halftime games, honors for local coaches, highlighted regional food, borough merchandise and more.